when i was childless in springfield, my sister came to visit and we went early one morning to see the elephants and people set up a circus. my sister is so much fun - she gets right into it. once she went to see the tall ships setting up and got offered a job aboard! and at dawn at the fairgrounds, she got offered a job traveling with and setting up the circus! (she turned down both offers)
that circus was the last "old style" one i ever went to; it was a real turn-off.
but years later in hanover, along came The Big Apple Circus! using the excuse of my child, i went, and it was all new and shiny, no mistreated wild animals, no scarred and wrinkled performers, one ring, a 'european style' circus as i later learned. up close and personal!
want to know what it's like to be in the circus? (i once seriously considered going to clown school in florida). PBS just did a series on the inside story of the people and history of The Big Apple Circus. six episodes. i'm loving it. highly recommended -- better than a soap opera or mystery series!
i don't get TV reception, but i hook my laptop up to my big flatscreen and watch it online. hooray for PBS! you can watch it too here http://www.pbs.org/opb/circus/video/
see Paul Binder and Grandma and the circus "family" in the subculture of the circus world! do clowns cry? what becomes of an aerealist who falls 80 feet? do 8th generation circus people get along with noobs? suppose an act cancels the night before opening? and more!