John Flanigan says that going to the circus makes him feel like a kid again.
“It reminds me of when my mother and grandmother and grandfather took me to the circus as a young kid,” he said. “It’s a show that’s designed for everybody. They’ve been doing the same kinds of acts for many, many years. It’s all pure entertainment of different varieties.”
Flanigan, of VFW Post No. 7315 in Havelock, is in charge of promoting the upcoming three-day appearance of the Cole Brothers Circus of the Stars next week in Havelock.
Proceeds from ticket sales go to support military members in the area.
Sherri and David Shepard, known as Carlee and Charlie, are a pair of clowns that do an advance act in the area to drum up enthusiasm for the circus. They spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday visiting day cares, doing mini-shows and handing out free tickets.
“We love coming out to do the shows. That’s the heart of what we do,” Sherri Shepard said. “We come out and build excitement for the circus.”
Most of the children are receptive to a visit from a colorful character with big feet and a red nose.
“Every once in a while you get a child that’s a little bit shy, but once they see that the other kids are having a good time, they kind of join right in,” she said.
Bill Dundee, Cole Brothers marketing director, said just like always, the circus is comprised of good, clean fun.
“It’s a G-rated show, family entertainment,” he said. “That’s very rare. I think that’s why people still like the circuses because everybody can come, grandma to the smallest kid.
“We’re selling memories. Grandma came when she was young and then she brought her kids and then her kids grow up and they have kids, so it’s account of memories. We remember how it was when we were little and we bring our kids to get the same thrills we got watching them.
“Nothing has changed watching the circus. We’ve got tiger acts, lion acts, elephant acts, clowns, high wires, trapeze and all of that. Nothing has changed. Mom and dad bring their kids because they went when they were kids. It’s memories we’re selling.”
There are a couple of new features in this year’s show, including a new high-wire act and a new white tiger, but the staples that make a good circus are returning, Dundee said.
“We’ve got the elephants back, the real small baby elephant, the medium-sized baby elephant and the big elephants,” he said. “It’s a good show. It always is.”
Shows will be Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 4:40 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. under the big top that will be set up at Walter B. Jones Park in Havelock.
Free children’s tickets can be obtained by going to Kittrell Auto Parts or Painted Pelican in Morehead City or Top Cigars and Coastal Mini Storage in Havelock. Flanigan said free children’s tickets have been distributed all over town to businesses that will take them, and about 300 tickets have been given out to military families at Cherry Point.
They can also be obtained at www.gotothecircus.com. For adults, ticket prices are $16 for general admission, $20 for reserved seating and $23 for VIP seating.
“When you’re a child, you like everything,” Dundee said. “There’s no bad in the world to a kid. They love the clowns. They love the motorcycles, the elephants, the tigers, the hair hangers and the wire walkers. It’s all fascinating to them.”