Shrine circus dazzles audience

April 18, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

by Richard T. Meagher / staff photographer

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Shrine circusShrine circus dazzles audience

There were jugglers, trapeze artists, acrobats and real live dancing bears, but the elephants stole the show as far as 5-year-old Codi Robair of Hancock was concerned.

Robair likes the elephants "'Cause they're big." But she also likes to keep her distance, declining the thought of touching one of the tusked creatures.

Robair came to the Ali Ghan Shrine Circus at Hagerstown Junior College on Saturday with her aunt, Michelle Weller of Hagerstown.


Some brave and lucky children got to ride an elephant.

Others were content to eat sticky pink cotton candy or munch on popcorn in the bleachers.

The trapeze artists swung so high they nearly touched the rafters of the Athletic Recreation and Community Center.

The audience let out a collective gasp when one girl appeared to slip and was caught by her partner's feet.

"Bobby Steele's Big Bears" danced on two legs for the crowd. They also did tricks like balancing on a rolling ball, riding a scooter and driving a go-cart.

An estimated 2,000 people attended each of two shows on Saturday.

The Cumberland, Md.,-based Shrine has been sponsoring circuses for 46 years. Last month, they brought the circus to Frederick, Md., and Frostburg, Md.

Elinor McLeod of Hagerstown has been bringing her 7- and 9-year-old grandchildren to the circus for the last four or five years.

She prefers the indoor ARCC to tent circuses.

"This is much cleaner, more comfortable to sit," she said.

Ryan Dudley, 11, of Hagerstown, seemed less than enthusiastic to be there with his brother, Brent, 6.

"It's all right," Ryan Dudley said.

Their father, Eric, said the boys were tired out from opening day of Little League.

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