The Kelly Miller Circus and its collection of colorful performers and animals performed two shows each on Thursday and Friday, drawing crowds of several hundred to a tent erected beside Hartville Hardware.
Big fun and big entertainment under the big top were the order of the day as the Kelly Miller Circus returned to Hartville Thursday.
The circus and its collection of colorful performers and animals performed two shows each on Thursday and Friday, drawing crowds of several hundred to a tent erected beside Hartville Hardware.
“This is no ordinary performance. This is a birthday celebration,” ringmaster John Moss III said, referring to the circus’ 75th anniversary.
Human and animal performers shared the ring for much of the evening, with Ryan Holder and the circus’ tigers opening the show inside a steel cage set up around the perimeter of the ring. Holder took the tigers through a performance that included jumps, perching on small stools around the edge of the ring and even dancing the Michael Jackson’s hit song “Billie Jean.”
The biggest act – literally – was the three elephants who put on a show under the direction of trainer Armando Royal. With riders in sequined outfits on their backs, the elephants perched on tiny stools, stood up on their hind legs and laid down for a quick nap on command before getting back to their show.
During intermission, the elephants were also available for free rides and a long line of those waiting to ride curled around the north side of the tent throughout much of the break.
Families came from as far away as Alabama for the show, with Dawn Benton and her children attending with their grandmother Ruth Sturgill and great-grandmother Ester Young, a Hartville resident who celebrated her 102nd birthday on July 17.
“We came up here to celebrate her birthday and the twins’ birthday as well, all the way from Alabama,” Benton said of Young and her children Matthew and McKenzie.
Steve Copeland and Ryan Combs provided comic relief throughout the evening as the show’s circus clowns. After disrupting Moss early on by playing their trombones, Copeland and Combs spent the rest of the show knocking each other down and tripping themselves up with power tools, sledgehammers and other equipment.
Along with the laughs, a series of performers who elevated and entertained from high above the audience added color and an acrobatic slant to the circus. Rebecca Ostroff, a circus veteran who began her career as a dancer, took center stage with a trapeze act that included her holding on to the end of a small chain dangling from her trapeze bar and swinging back and forth high above the ring with only the strength of her bite to hold her. Her fellow acrobatic performers, the Northern Starlets, twisted and twirled on ropes hanging around the ring in their bright costumes while Ostroff anchored the show.
The Rosales family, consisting of father Jorge, his wife Carmen and their 8-year-old twins Jonathon and Jonary, entertained with a perch pole act. It saw both Carmen and her children balance upside down atop a large pole held by Jorge.
Page 2 of 2 - Some of the evening’s hottest moments were courtesy of fire eater Lamount, who both twirled and swallowed flames. He later returned several feet taller, walking on stilts and flanked by the Northern Starlets. Moss noted near the end of the show that the circus doesn’t usually stay in a town more than one day, but did so in Hartville due to popular demand.
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