Of all the million wonderful things there are to enjoy about the summer, one of the best for a lot of us is the annual trip to the circus. Personally I always had an extra special attachment to the big top. My uncle was the ringmaster for Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus and the annual circus trip was a large family affair that included running around after the show with the clowns and trapeze artists and legends of the circus like Gunther Gabel Williams.
To me the circus was the velvet boxes of Rhinestones and costume jewelry my Uncle would collect and send us. It was peanuts and bright colors and glamorous clothes and people who came from all over the world. It was magic.
Some things don’t ever change.
Last week I was able to take my kids to another famous traveling circus, Circus Vargas that has put up its big top tent in nearby Dublin. It’s hard to describe the feeling that comes with coming up over the freeway and seeing the tent rise up over the landscape with flags blowing in the wind. Or the smell of sawdust and hay in the parking lot as we rushed to the gate to pick up our tickets.
As we stepped inside we breathed in the strong sweet smell of cotton candy and popcorn and made our way into the tent. Instantly the kids stepped into the ring with hosts John and Laura Weiss where they hula hooped, balanced feathers and juggled scarves underneath the big top lights.
After the pre-show performance we found our seats. The lights came on and the music began and we heard the so familiar “Ladies and Gentlemen…” opening lines of the Ringmaster.
The show was a dazzling array of acrobatics, comedy, death defying stunts and lots of beautiful costumes that took my breath away. I was hooked form the moment the show began. I’d look away to snap photos with my camera and sneak an occasional glance at the kids, who spent most of the show with their jaws on the floor.
It’s hard to describe, even for me, the magic of the circus. As the music played and the performers flew through the air I couldn’t help but be drawn to top of the tent and the lights and equipment that was holding up the tent and the performers. I turned to the side and watched the workers moving around props and setting up and taking down each act (some workers were also performers of course) and I couldn’t help but wonder if most people realize how much work goes into making the magic happen.
The best part about the circus? The most magical thing is the fact that when you step inside that tent you are transported to another world. For a few hours it’s hard to even remember what the world outside looks, feels, or even smells like. For those few hours you are a child completely immersed in the magic of big top.
If you’re in the bay area, Circus Vargas will be here through August. You can catch them in Dublin at I-580 at Hacienda until July 18, then in Newark at NewPark Mall July 21-25, in Hayward at Southland Mall July 28-August 1, in San Jose at Westfield Oakridge August 4-8 and the San Jose Flea Market August 11-15. Check out the details at their website: www.CircusVargas.com
I highly recommend hitting the circus near where you live, after all we could always use a little more magic in our lives, couldn’t we? When was the last time you went to the magical land of the circus?