"Ladies and Gentlemen, Step Right Up! You won't believe your eyes! A menagerie of spectacular animal feats!"
I love the circus, actually the idea of the circus. A vintage circus anyway. And the circuses of my childhood. I love the history of them especially and the vintage advertising for them.
Actual circuses are filled with animal cruelty and all that, so you know, this is more of a fantasy thing.
I grew up just outside of Baraboo, Wisconsin which is home to the Circus World Museum...the largest collection of circus artifacts in the world. It is also the birthplace of the Ringling Brothers Circus (who later bought Barnum & Bailey) so the circus is close to heart and home. I even knew some professional circus folk, a whole family of stilt walkers. I like to pretend that somewhere in my family tree there are a few trapeze artists hiding but I don't think that is true.
(UPDATE: Upon talking with my father in law, it turns out that my husband has a great great + uncle who was Harry Houdini's assistant for many years. I've grafted myself onto their tree thanks to marriage. So I can claim this, right?)
Meet the wooden circus folk:
Circus seal with stand and ball. In first grade my class performed a circus play and I was a seal. I had to wear all black and squirm around on the floor with a ball. I remember being terribly nervous.
Circus elephant. The first (and only) time I rode an elephant I cried. It was at the Circus World Museum actually. I was a child and the elephant was stinky. Then I felt bad for knowing that he was stinky and plus I was scared. And excited too because I really wanted to ride him. So I cried and cried because that is what you do when you are four and can't make sense of things.
And of course it all takes place in a big top tent! I secretly wish I could paint our house like this, but it would just look like it was being fumigated. I think it is odd how they make those tents looks like happy stripey tents...doesn't that attract children to them? We have termites in this climate so we see tented houses often around here.
Finally, I have to take this opportunity to share one of my most precious articles of clothing. My vintage Baraboo Circus Parade shirt. From 1980. That I've owned since 1980 when I attended the first ever circus parade there. I had a red one that actually fit me too. I wore this shirt like a dress back then as pajamas as I was just a wee thing. It is one of two articles of clothing that I still have and wear from childhood.
Enjoy the show!
PS - Maya is doing an at home circus theme right now go check it out!