Circus coming to town on Thursday

Two shows planned; free entry offered with specified items to benefit endangered elephants

Franchesca Cavallini Franchesca Cavallini The Carson & Barnes Circus will be at Apache Pass for shows at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, with a portion of ticket sales benefiting the Rockdale Rotary Club.

As part of an effort to save and honor endangered elephants, persons who donate grooming items or bread for elephants will be admitted free and a 17-year-old trapeze artist will sing her soon-to-be released song “I Am The Circus,” which will also benefit circus elephants.

BIG TOP—The giant circus tent will be erected around 10 a.m. Carson & Barnes is known as the “Biggest of the Big Tops.”

Tickets at the gate Thursday will be $16 for adults and $10 for children.

Add $6 for box seats and $3 for reserved seats.

“Lap children” under age two will be admitted free.

Online ticket information is available at

DONATIONS—There’s also a way to get in for free, according to Jacque Hollander, Carson & Barnes spokesperson.

“Anyone who brings a bottle of Murphy Oil Soap, baby oil, bleach, grooming brushes or two loaves of bread will be admitted free and will receive preferred seating,” she said.

“This is per-person,” Hollander said. “For a family, each person must bring one of those items.”

During each show, trapeze artist Franchesca Cavallini will perform in a 10-minute extravaganza with aerialists, show girls and Isa the elephant, showcasing the song written by Hollander.

“Franchesca has always loved animals, especially elephants,” Hollander said. “She wants to help these magnificent creatures that she loves so much.”

Cavallini will be available for photographs and autographs at 1:30 p.m., which is also the time the big top will open.

Hollander said the items collected Thursday, and all proceeds after the song is released, will go to the Endangered Ark Foundation in Hugo, Oklahoma.

“The non-profit foundation was established in 1993 to help preserve the endangered Asian elephant and is home to the second largest herd of Asian elephants in the United States,” she said.

SHOW—The circus features animal acts, trapeze artists, clowns and more.

There will also be a special appearance from Katy the Pygmy Hippo.

Alex the Clown will also be on hand.

Sideshows include elephant rides, camel rides, pony rides and a free petting zoo.

PETA— Hollander talked frankly with The Reporter about an ongoing campaign against Carson & Barnes by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), focusing on elephants.

“I term myself an advocate for animals,” she said. “I followed this circus around so I could see for myself how they treated their animals.”

“ We love elephant s,” she said. “It costs the circus about a half-million dollars a year to feed and take care of an elephant. Do you think they’re going to risk an investment like that?”

Hollander acknowledged a widely-circulated Internet video by PETA purporting to show an elephant being abused by a trainer. “One person made one mistake several years ago,” she said.

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2013-04-18 digital edition

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