Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 25, 2009

Here comes the circus

VALDOSTA — Five years have passed since the Cole Brothers Circus of the Stars last played Valdosta. This week, the circus is back with four performances, during two days, under the big top.

Workers are scheduled to start raising the circus’ massive tent at about 6 a.m. Monday, said Mario Vitali, a Cole Brothers Circus spokesman. Forty people are assigned to maintain and raise the tent on a regular basis. The canvas of the big top is replaced about every seven years.

People coming to see the raising of the big top between 7-9 a.m. Monday at Five Points Shopping Center and bring non-perishable food items for the food bank will receive general admission passes for the evening performances, Vitali said.

An absence of five years from an area is not unusual, Vitali said. The Cole Brothers Circus played Valdosta for several years in a row then adjusted its touring path to include other cities the past few years.

The circus usually starts in March, traveling from Florida north to various states, playing New York City and other northern areas in the summer. By fall, the circus makes its way south. The Cole Brothers are in the final weeks of the circus season, playing Southern states, returning to Florida to end the season by Thanksgiving.

This is the Cole Brothers’ 125th anniversary, making it the oldest circus still performing under the big top. W.W. Cole’s circus career started in 1871. He started his Cole Brothers Circus in 1884. His circus’ early attractions included incandescent light, “a single, glowing glass globe, powered by a steam engine,” according to the Cole Brothers history. This marvel attracted thousands of people across the nation.

Valdosta audiences of the 21st century can expect to find elephants, camels, performing dogs, acrobats, aerial ballet, a comedy mule, clowns, jugglers. There is the seven-man pyramid on the high wire, the Globe of Death, the Wheel of Destiny, and the Human Cannonball.

• The Cole Brothers Circus of the Stars

When: Plays 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

Where: Five Points Shopping Center.

Tickets: $17, at the gate; $12, child (ages 2-12); add $3, reserved seating; add $5, VIP seating; advance sales discounts, etc., available.

More information: (386) 405-3183; or (800) 796-5672 (9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday).

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