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Kelly Miller Circus coming to town

The St. Francois County Rotary Club is once again sponsoring the Kelly Miller Circus and they will be rolling into town for a two-day performance at Engler Park in Farmington.

This year’s show on April 20-21 will feature a dancing elephant and a variety of animals along with a cast of international circus stars under the big top. Performances that spectators will be able to enjoy are juggling, fire breathing, aerial acrobatics, comedy, rope spinning, and a swinging trapeze act.

On the morning before the first performance, the public will get an altogether different kind of show as the circus comes to life. The circus trucks will pull onto the lot where the animals will be unloaded, stakes will be driven into the ground and the giant big top is hoisted into the air. The tent-raising itself is a great free show that will take place at 9 a.m. on the first day.

That morning a knowledgeable circus veteran will be there to explain the process of the tent-raising and the magic behind the scenes. They will also give the public a peek into the circus life by answering questions and giving a tour of the circus grounds.

The event is a fundraiser for the St. Francois County Rotary and buying tickets in advance means the public can save money as well as support the year-round projects of the local organization. Tickets in advance are $12 for adults and $6 for children and can be purchased at First State Community Bank in Desloge and Farmington, Belgrade State Bank in Desloge and Farmington, Mike’s Market in Bismarck, Hastings Unlimited in Farmington, or online at www.kellymillercircus.com. Tickets purchased on show day at the box office will be $16 for adults and $8 for children. Children ages 2 and under are free. Shows will be at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The staff and management of Kelly Miller Circus are deeply committed to the humane treatment of not only their animals, but of all animals. They state they do not tolerate cruelty in the training of their animals. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to conduct a performance if their animals are nervous or cowering in fear.

The Kelly Miller Circus’s travel schedule is dictated by the need of their animals. The distance they travel between towns averages about 60 miles each day and they are only in transit during the very early, cool morning hours.

Custom-built enclosures are assembled immediately upon arrival, along with canopies and awnings for shade. The animals are unloaded from the trucks as soon as these structures are erected. Only in cases of severe weather do the animals spend more than two hours of any day in the trucks.

They have constant access to food and water during the day and their enclosures are designed to allow them to roam unchained inside them when they are not working or performing.

This season the Kelly Miller Circus, in its 79th year, will travel nearly 10,000 miles and give performances in more than 200 cities and towns as it winds across the North America from February through October. Enjoying a day at the circus means a lot more than just old-fashioned family fun.

Hundreds come out to support the St. Francois County Rotary Club's fundraiser each year. The Kelly Miller Circus sets up several attractions for circus-goers to enjoy before and after the show.

Hundreds come out to support the St. Francois County Rotary Club’s fundraiser each year. The Kelly Miller Circus sets up several attractions for circus-goers to enjoy before and after the show.

The circus offers a variety of acts that kids and adults enjoy.

The circus offers a variety of acts that kids and adults enjoy.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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