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Shrine Circus


  • Mesa County Fairgrounds 2785 U.S. 50 Grand Junction, CO, 81503 United States (map)

People have been going to circuses in this country for almost three hundred years! It has always been a popular form of family entertainment from the start, and continues so to this day. Where else can you see an elephant perform or a daring young lady hang by her teeth 25 feet in the air?

Philip Ashley started it all in 1968. John 1Ucketts built the first permanent circus building and in April, 1793 brought this unique form of entertainment to the new world. By 1797 the circus parade, now only a grand memory, was born.

In 1825, the first tented circus was presented by producer J. Purdy Brown. Brown realized the potential of playing every day and the ease of moving the show the tent provided. He could now show to more people, therefore making more money. By 1829 trained exotic animals began appearing in the performances.

The next major advance in the circus world was the entry in 1857 of the Steam Calliope in the circus parade. It was loud and in the days before radio and television was a great way to let the people know that the circus was in town. Circuses in those days used colorful and large circus posters which they plastered all over town before the circus arrived. That is where the term "post no bills" came from, put up by angry building owners who did not want their buildings plastered with circus posters. The glue the billposters used did not easily come off!

This was the beginning of the golden age of the circus. Around the turn of the
century, there were over 100 circuses operating. Today there am less t.ban thirty or forty left.. The major sponsor of circus as charity events are the Shriners who began their association with the business in 1925 and that association continues to this day in cities and towns across the land.

This is only a brief sketch of the history of the circus. Today there are
many options for family entertainment with TV, movies and the internet, but only the circus offers this 1Ulique, matchless brand of live family fun. When you attend a performance, you will be well entertained in modern but very traditional way and take away many wonderful memories for your whole family to treasure. Think about John Rickets in that long ago Philadelphia.

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