So if you’re a young, childless couple looking for some fun on the weekend, and you live close to two major metropolitan areas, what could you do? Go out for a nice meal… dancing… movies… a play… or you could go to the circus and have a blast. At least that’s what we did.
It sounds crazy, and our two fears was that either a) we’d be surrounded by screaming children or b) it would be quite disappointing. Fortunately, the screaming child factor was kept to minimum, especially after we moved to a virtually empty section after the intermission, and the circus kept us as entertained as 5 year old. The trapeze act, the clowns, the lions… it is at least as cool, if not even better than you remember it. In fact, going as an adult makes you realize how much of the show is used as a distraction for other parts of the show. So while there’s this big daredevil act going on at one end of the stadium, when that is done, magically the tiger cage is all set up with all the tigers in it. In all honesty, I don’t remember that from being a kid and makes you respect the complexity of the logistics.
I was also surprised/thrilled to see that the circus still travels by train. While going into Providence this week, I saw the train cars all lined up on the tracks on the outskirts of the city. It adds to the old fashioned romance of the circus to think about all those clowns and animals traveling by train.
On the other hand, the show started with a commercial for Campfire marshmallows. Yes, a commercial. The lights hadn’t gone down yet, but there were about 10 clowns out there, getting the crowd warmed up and doing a promotional bit for the little pillows of sugar. I can’t wait until the childhood obesity activists get a hold of that one.
Speaking of unadulterated commercialism, our tickets were surprisingly inexpensive, making us think that it is a good value for families to go. Unless you buy any souvenirs. Then you might as well take them to the opera – $15 for a snow cone in a flashing plastic cup! $10 for cotton candy with a paper hat! $20 for a program! So you can get IN for only $20 a person, but good luck getting OUT for under $100…
Speaking of modern additions to the circus, what’s a perfectly good innocent family-focused event without someone trying to ruin it? Standing outside the stadium were two protesters (I’m sure even they would admit it was a weak showing) trying to raise awareness about the animal cruelty that goes on with the circus animals. Personally, I feel like those tigers are doing alright – I wouldn’t have wanted to be in that cage with them!
The best part though was just feeling like a kid again – but being able to have a beer too. Whether you’re 5, 25, or 50, tight-rope walkers and lions in cages, and human cannonballs are pretty cool stuff.