'Greatest Show in Fallston' better than Ringling Brothers [Commentary]

A flier announces the participants in "The Greatest Show in Fallston" at Fallston Country Pre-K.
A flier announces the participants in "The Greatest Show in Fallston" at Fallston Country Pre-K.(Staff photo by Erika Butler | The Aegis)

It was billed as the "Greatest Show in Fallston," and while I might be a little biased, the pre-school circus lived up to its billing.

On March 25, my son, Henry, and his 19 classmates at Fallston Country Pre-K put on a wonderful performance of circus acts. There were dancing bears, roaring lions and prancing elephants to go along with goofy clowns and "high" wire artists.


It's just one of the innumerable reasons I love my children's school.

The circus wasn't about learning to write or read words or count - it was more abstract than that.


"Really, it's about using your imagination and being able to express yourself through imaginative play," Henry's teacher, Lynn Crofton, said. "It's to have fun, to have fun being silly and goofy. It's more about just enjoying pretending than anything else. In this day and age, so much pretending is out the window because of technology, it's nice to bring it back."

And the children loved it. Every one of them, and in their own ways. Some were loud, proud and bold in their costumes and characters. Others, like Henry, were a little more reserved, though as one of the lions, he did come bounding through the curtain with a nice loud roar.

Henry doesn't like to be the center of attention, so this was big for him. At his Christmas pageant in December 2012, he was shy and timid, not really singing along or doing any of the activities. This school year, he was much better, and said his lines without prompting, even if he was difficult to hear.

At the circus, Henry embraced his roles (he was also an elephant) and proudly performed every move and song that was expected of him.

You could see his pride every time he yelled hello to his sister, Emily, or his mom-mom in the audience.

They also enjoyed watching their classmates - they laughed right along with the performers, giggling at their antics.

Henry's classmate, Quinn S., stole the show. Full of nervous giggles, he just laughed and laughed the whole time as a professional pooper scooper and a body-builder.

The circus at Fallston Country Pre-K, a new school this year which meets at Grandview Christian Church, dates back a few dozen years to when the school was Fallston Community Pre-K. It's just something that's always been done (though I don't remember putting on a circus when I went there in the 1970s - yes, I'm dating myself).

It's followed up a few days later with a trip to Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, which we saw Friday in Baltimore.

I'll take the pre-school circus over the professional one any day.

As far as Crofton knows, it's the only school that puts on a circus.

"It was started forever ago at the old school. It has just evolved, made changes over the years - whether the songs, costumes or acts," she said. "It was a very small little show someone along the line thought could be a fun thing to do and it has grown into a big production."


The fun thing, Crofton said, is that she never knows what she's going to get.

"They could do everything right the day before, but the day of the show, whatever I get, I get," she said.

What she does get out of her students is fantastic. They're so eager to impress, not only their teacher, but also everyone in the crowd. They do it with all their heart and put on one heck of a good show. Definitely the greatest show I've seen in Fallston.

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