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For four days, Youngstown is ‘circus town’

Published: Sat, March 26, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.


The Vindicator (Youngstown)

Brian Crawford Scott, ringmaster for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, sings the national anthem and welcomes the audience to the "Fully Charged" show at the Covelli Center Friday night.


The Vindicator (Youngstown)

Travis Mills (red), 4, of Canfield, Caiden Smith (blue), 6, of Austintown, and DeeAnna Mills (white), 6, of Canfield, watch a pre-show perfomance Friday night at the Covelli Center.

By D.A. Wilkinson



“Youngstown is definitely a circus town,” Clair Ballard said Friday.

You better believe it.

She is in event marketing and sales management for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

The circus presented its new show, “Fully Charged,” at the Covelli Centre that will run through Monday night.

The opening-night crowd Friday was nearly a full house.

“On March 1, everyone thinks about Youngstown,” Ballard said.

Meanwhile in the audience, Shawna Oller and her husband, Heath of Lisbon brought their daughter, Brogan, 10, and son, Bryce, 9.

“The family goes to the circus,” she said.

She added, “The kids read stories about the circus all the time.”

Speaking at a preview as the circus began to get rolling, Shawna said, “The kids are so excited.”

Melissa Herrin and her husband, Eric, of Hubbard have come to the circus two years in a row. Their daughter, Olivia, is 4 and was curious about the elephants and their families.

Charity Mendenhall was at the circus with her children, Cheyenne, 9, and Trevor, 5.

Trevor asked the question all the children asked, “When does the elephant come out?”

The elephant finally appeared and a trainer explained how the circus has its own facility for maintaining, training and caring for its elephants, each of which weigh 8,000 pounds.

In return, the elephant used its trunk to grasp a brush to paint an abstract work.

Joy Boston is one of the many entertainers in the truly three-ring circus.

She wondered when she was 15 what it would be like to be an entertainer, and tried to get a job with Barnum & Bailey. She didn’t get it.

A few years, later, she received a call from the circus, which offered her a job.

She now wears a red dress with lots of sparkles as do many of the female performers in the circus, commonly known as “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Is she going to stay in the circus?

“As long as I can. It’s a really physical job,” she said.

The circus has changed in many ways. Children asked for pop and a bystander noticed the drink was glowing. The parents explained that the glow was coming from the plastic cup.

The circus continues today and Sunday with shows at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. each day. The “GreatestShow” ends its Youngstown run with a 7 p.m. performance Monday.

Seats are still available.


1JanieM(1 comment)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

When I see families that are star struck by the circus excitement created just for them, I hang my head in sadness, because they have no idea how they have been fooled into believing that the elephants they love are happy animals and love performing just to entertain them. If your children saw one of Ringling’s baby elephant training session they would be screaming in horror and crying to see the animals they love beaten with whips, bullhooks, ropes and electric prods. It is a fact these animals live a very inhumane life. Parents if you do a quick study on elephant’s natural behaviors, you soon realize that elephants don’t walk tail to trunk, paint, dance, and sit on a stool or chained in one spot all day and night. In reality Circus elephants are severely punished for exhibiting natural behaviors. These animals are extremely intelligent and mirror the human species. The human equivalent to a circus elephant’s life would be to put a 2 year old child in prison for the rest of their life and beat them regularly, until they are just a shell of themselves. No difference. Irrefutable evidence of this abuse came out in 2009, a search on YouTube and Google see photos of a Ringling baby elephant training session.
The Manager of Ringling’s Center for Elephant Conservation testified in a federal trial in 2009 the reason they don’t video tape the elephant training sessions is because they would be hard to explain in the modern world.
This factual documentary on captive elephants and the birth of the circus in the United States just came out on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRq7_d...
Ringling won’t show you this at their preshow event, because then you will learn the truth and never come back.

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2seminole(476 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

As falcon calls out, Ytown is a circus everyday. Look at all the three colored hair giant women circulating the area, yapping on their cell phones while veering between lanes on the road...or the yeti dads jammed behind the wheel of their so cool vans while they speed through town like badasses...or the juggling teens texting and talking to their passengers while speeding through residential areas on their way to and from school...@JanieM, good info but, unfortunately, the adult idiots that cheese it up and make themselves look like a happy family at the circus could care less about the abuse...errr.."training" of animals and the affect their captivity has on those animals. When you have populations of self absorbed morons willing to spend their unemployment checks to make a showing at the circus and impress their kids for one night out of the year your thoughtful and true comments will go unread and dismissed.

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