By Jeff Bahr, email@example.com
10:39 AM EDT, March 28, 2013
Where: Aberdeen Civic Arena.
When: At 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. today, 4 and 8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets: Kids 12 and younger get in free. For adults, advance tickets are $10 and tickets at the door are $12. Advance tickets are available at Ken's SuperFair Foods, Kessler’s and the Yelduz Shrine Center.
Vicenta Pages, a tiger trainer, will always remember Aberdeen as the birthplace of her daughter.
On the second day of last year's Shrine Circus, Pages gave birth at Avera St. Luke's.
It was an eventful trip to Aberdeen for Circus Spectacular, which presents the Yelduz Shrine Circus. Not only did Pages give birth, but Circus Spectacular owner Cindy Migley broke her toe tripping over a suitcase.
"She was in the labor room having her baby and I was in the emergency room having X-rays on my toe," Migley recalls.
The little girl was named Vanessa, but the circus troupe calls her Abby in honor of Aberdeen. "That's kind of a nickname. I think it’s going to stick with her," Migley said.
Pages is not with the circus this year, but the show will include Bengal tigers, trained by Brian Franzen. Franzen also trains the three elephants in this year's circus. Other animals on hand will be Lloyd's Old English sheepdogs and miniature ponies presented by Raul Rodriguez.
This is the second year that Migley has supplied Aberdeen with its circus. Circus Spectacular worked with the Yelduz Shrine for the first time last year.
Migley, who lives in Sarasota, Fla., is a fifth-generation circus person."My grandfather owned his own circus," she said in a phone interview.
Migley works entirely with Shrine Circuses around North America. "I love working for the Shrine. They really have kept circus alive," she said. "They're the biggest sponsor of circus in the United States."
Performers from Russia, Germany and Argentina take part in this year's circus, which opens today at the Aberdeen Civic Arena.
One of the big attractions at this year's circus will be the towering sway poles, presented by Winn Thrills. A brother and sister will climb "to the very highest point of the building," Migley said. In their final trick, the brother and sister "actually switch poles," Migley said.
This year's circus has a lot of aerial acts, she said. Those attractions include Obando's Highwire act. Another act offers the Alvarez family on teeterboard. A 15-year-old will perform on the rolla bolla, which is a balance board.
Another highlight, Migley said, will be Sir Igor performing on The Cube. In addition, the Winns will perform on a revolving wheel.
The lineup also includes the Arestovs, who are jugglers.
For an act called the Spanish Webs, "all the girls in the show get together" and do an aerial production number, Migley said.
As he did last year, singing ringmaster Justin Loomis will be the master of ceremonies.
All kids 12 and younger receive free admission to the circus, because Shrine members solicit contributions from area businesses.
Proceeds from the circus help support the Yelduz Shrine.
Last year, the fire marshal closed off ticket sales for at least three performances because the Civic Arena was full. For those shows, "We had people lined up around the block when they shut us down," said Devin Reints of the Yelduz Shrine.
All circus fans have their preferences, Migley said. Some people like animals, some like aerial acts, some like comedy. The key, Migley said, is having the right mixture. "A little bit of everything keeps everybody happy."
Migley is a big believer in the circus. "I think the circus is the best form of live entertainment to bring your family to," she said.
Where else, she asked, can you see two and a half hours of live entertainment? The show, she said, is a lot of fun. "And it's cheaper than going to the movies."
While being interviewed, Migley was traveling from Harrisburg, Pa., where the circus wrapped up an engagement Sunday night. In Harrisburg, "we worked in their actual Shrine Temple, which is on a stage."
Next week, the group will visit the Fargodome in Fargo, N.D. The troupe also performs in hockey arenas such as Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta. "It’d be hard to find a building we couldn't put a circus in," she said.
After leaving Aberdeen, the circus will head to Huron for performances on Monday.
Yelduz Shrine also brings the circus to four other cities this summer — Lemmon, Mobridge, Eagle Butte and Fort Pierre.
In three of those communities, the circus will be presented outdoors.
"That's the roughing-it part of the circus," Migley said. But she knows it's necessary. "These people can't come to the bigger cities. So we have to go to them, and if it means playing out on the dirt on the rodeo grounds, we do it."