Circus on tap Saturday

It is time again for Jefferson City to welcome a spring tradition: Circus Pages.

The circus comes to Washington Park Ice Arena this Saturday with two shows, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The circus, managed by James Earhart, is a true family business, employing 36 people including his son and daughter and many nieces and nephews. His wife handles bookings, travel plans, bookkeeping etc.

Earhart said they travel to about 250 cities each year. The circus is organized so it can accommodate any size arena. For Jefferson City, this means that trapeze acts will be minimal due to the height of the arena ceiling. Instead of the normal trapeze equipment, they will use a crane with one act. To compensate for this they use more trampoline and motorcycle acts. And a particular delight for the audiences is Danny the Clown.

Circus Pages travels with two elephants, four camels, two horses, six ponies, dogs, and six lions and tigers, including a white tiger.

The entourage requires 10 trucks to transport everything. Earhart said it makes a nice convoy. One truck is used solely to house the hay and feed for the animals. It holds about 50-60 bales of hay and assorted dry food for the animals. The circus has traveled on the same circuit for so many years — they have been in business for 24 years — that they know which towns they can stop at to restock the hay and feed. One truckload lasts for about a week.

It takes about three hours to set up the circus and about an hour to tear down and pack. So they can come into a city and, in a day, they’re able to set up, perform, tear down and go on to another city.

Earhart’s father-in-law started the circus and is still the owner but is retired and, according to Earhart, enjoying the sun in Florida.

When asked about weather as a factor in all of the traveling, Earhart laughed and said that they were in Minnesota enjoying the snow. He said in the Midwest there is always some type of weather to adjust to.

Since the circus is performed in the ice arena in Jefferson City, the audience has a chance to be close to the action, which is not always possible in larger arenas. The audience can really feel the presence of the animals.

Tickets are $15 each — cash only — and are sold at the door. Two children ages 14 and younger are admitted free with the purchase of each ticket.

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