“So, step right up! Come and witness the bizarre and unbelievable feats of elephants, tigers, and monkeys, the glitter and spectacle of the American circus. See the thrills, the beauty, the excitement and laughter that happen when the circus comes to town.”
Circus Vargas is in San Luis Obispo. Having recently read and seen Water for Elephants, I was thrilled when Katie and Jo invited me to join them for opening night. I looked forward to the circus all day, with visions of elephants, lions, tigers, and freak shows with two headed monsters, women with 5 breasts, and other bizarre circus acts. I bought my ticket early; $25 bucks for the bleacher seats. With ticket prices ranging from $25-$100, the circus ain’t cheap.
- A traveling company of acrobats, trained animals, and clowns that gives performances, typically in a large tent, in a series of different places.
I arrived to the circus pre-party at 7pm, with Katie looking at me, shaking her head.
“There’s no animals at the circus.”
“Seriously, there are no animals in the circus.”
“How can it be called a circus without any animals?”
I was crushed. I had even downloaded ‘8mm’ on my iphone so I could take vintage circus videos.. How can you call it a circus without any animals? Not even one! The main act of the night was the guy balancing a ladder on his chin! After about 45 minutes inside the hot, smelly tent, I began plotting my escape.
“I have to go to the bathroom.”
I ducked out of the tent, grabbed my bicycle and rode away as fast as I could peddle.
As I rode home, I thought back to the days when the circus was one of America’s main attractions. By the turn of the 20th century, there were over 100 circuses traveling the country at a time, performing shows with over 12,000 spectators. People waited all year for the circus to come to town. It was the biggest day of the year!
In fact, the circus is even responsible for the invention of hamburgers. In 1892, Frank Menches, while selling food concessions, ran out of link sausages so he asked his assistants to form ground sausage into patties and sell them as sandwiches. The hamburger was born.
Unfortunately, the circus also has a dark side of animal cruelty, which is the reason why many circuses no longer employ animals in their acts..
But, as my good friend Ali said “Circus equals animals. Period”.
Tags: borracha, circus vargas, san luis obispo