Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 24, 2013

Life Under the Big Top

Circus returns next week

VALDOSTA — As the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars ringmaster, Chris Connors knows his acts well.

It is his booming northern New York voice that introduces the aerial artists, the human cannonball, baby elephant Hugo, the hand-balancing act, white tigers, the Colombian highwire artists — all within the “world’s largest circus under the big top.” All playing Valdosta for six performances next week.

Connors identifies himself as one of the performers. After all, for the past 12 years, from the Cole Bros.’ first to last act, he’s in the ring throughout the show. But on his contract, the occupation of performance director is listed above ringmaster.

In addition to the booming voice, the colorful costumes, the stage presence and personality, he really is the man leading the show. He manages getting the acts from point A to point B during the 90-minute show, but he’s also the person who must direct workers in preparing the big top for each performances, sweeping up the dropped popcorn from the afternoon show to ready the venue for the evening audience, seeing that people have their tickets and find their seats.

The circus is 27 show trucks, a caravan of house trailers, the transportation of animals which are owned by individuals with individual contracts with the circus. These vehicles will arrive in Valdosta, stopping at Five Points late this weekend, before the raising of the massive, colorful big-top tent Monday morning.

It’s a traveling town, a traveling family, and as ringmaster, Chris Connors is the father figure.

The circus has been his family throughout his life. His parents were part of Circus Fans of America. Connors tells stories of circus greats watching out for him all the way back to his infancy.

While the non-circus world can attract a young adult who has already spent a lifetime in the circus, it’s difficult to leave.

“You try to shake it out of your system, but the sawdust is in your veins ... the circus bug bites you,” he says.

To live the circus life, the circus must be one’s life. Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars begins touring each year in mid-March and continues through November shortly before Thanksgiving. In the off-season, Connors continues working for the circus but he takes vacations back home to New York and Connecticut.

He’s even taken a vacation to visit friends who work for another circus.

“People couldn’t believe I would take my vacation and spend it with another circus,” Connors says. “But I didn’t have to work. I could just watch and enjoy. ... The circus is my hobby, my job, my life.”

CIRCUS

Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars plays.

When: 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Oct. 28-30.

Where: Five Points Shopping Center, off North Ashley Street, Valdosta.

More information: Visit www.gotothecircus.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Jim Zachary Mug shot.jpg Zachary named The Valdosta Daily Times’ editor

    Veteran newspaper editor Jim Zachary has assumed the editor’s chair at The Valdosta Daily Times.
    During the past two decades Zachary has been one of the most decorated community newspaper journalists in Georgia and Tennessee.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140728-griner001.jpg Griner takes oath

     Surrounded by family, friends, and fellow commissioners, Clay Griner took the oath of office Monday morning as the Lowndes County Super District 5 commissioner.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140728-man_hunt001.jpg Dump truck thieves sought

    Authorities continued searching for suspects Monday evening connected to a stolen dump truck involved in a chase with law-enforcement.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • City workers strike natural gas main

    A gas leak evacuated a neighborhood Monday when workers struck a natural gas main.

    July 29, 2014

  • education.jpg Desegregation status approved

    Forty-three years after an initial lawsuit was filed to force the system to desegregate, Valdosta City Schools has officially been approved for “unitary status.”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • ARociewilliams_002.jpg Woman shares nearly a century of lessons

    With nearly 100 years of life under her belt, Ocie Viola Williams has plenty of advice to share with the world. Her top two pieces of advice: know the importance of education and don’t expect a teacher to raise your child for you. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • psst1 photo page copy.jpg PSST! finishes peachy season

    Peach State Summer Theatre concluded its 2014 season Sunday, a season which broke attendance records for the professional musical theatre company.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_2381.jpeg Award-winning young professionals share success secrets

    The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s MetroOne Young Professionals hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn to highlight successful business practices.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140726_summerlibrary002.jpg Library celebrates end of summer reading program

    With the first day of school just around the corner, students are soaking in the last few weeks of summer vacation. The end of summer also means the end of the South Georgia Regional Library’s 2014 summer reading program.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • artseason1 copy.jpg A sneak peek at some area arts organizations’ 2014-15 seasons

    Beethoven. Tennessee Williams. Non-stop art. Two versions of “The Wizard of Oz.” The 2014-15 arts season is coming.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results