The brightly colored posters were displayed in business windows all over Montpelier. Excitement and anticipation filled the air as they were seen driving into town! The blue and white striped big top slowly rose in the summer sky like a giant hot air balloon. If one listened carefully they could almost hear the faint sound of “doot -doot doodle-oodleoot doot do do.”
The circus was in town! Soon the tented one ring circus would be filled with floppy shoe clowns, sparkling trapeze artists, contortions twisted like pretzels, two performing tigers and a magnificent thick-maned lion. The blue wooden bleachers would fill with giddy children, parents, and grandparents. Popcorn, peanuts, and the sugary sweet aroma of billowy pink and blue cotton candy would waft through the tent. There is something magical about the circus, and it lives in every child’s imagination and memory.
Culpepper and Merriweather Circus sponsored by the Montpelier Rotary Club came to Montpelier on July 5th. They had two spectacular showings, one at 5:00 p.m. and one at 7:00 p.m. Each show was 90 minutes of death-defying, thrilling action along with plenty of giggles and laughs! Culpepper and Merriweather Circus have performances 32 weeks out of the year, mid-March through October traveling to over 200 towns in 17 states.
The Culpepper and Merriweather Circus has been in business for 32 years. Their talented performers originate from the U.S. Canada and Mexico. The show has very humble and simple beginnings. It began with three performers, Robert Johnson, Jim Hebert, and Curtis Cainan, each taking turns, performing, announcing and selling concessions. In the beginning no admission fee was charged. Instead, at the end of each show, they passed a hat asking for donations. Gradually they made enough money to hire other performers, purchase equipment, and even animals. The show now consists of clowns, contortions, acrobats, trapeze artists, sword balancing, unicycles, dog performances, wheel acrobats, tiger and lion performances, comedy and balancing acts. There is never a dull moment.
At every show during setup, they invite the public to attend their free informative tour. It is during this time that the community can meet the animals, ask questions and learn about animal care and how the dogs, tigers and the lion (all rescue animals) became part of the circus family. They will also learn about the daily operations of the circus.
There was a short intermission during each show at which time patrons could take photos with performers or visit the concession stand and purchase buttery popcorn, ice cold snow-cones, juicy hot dogs dripping with ketchup and mustard, and thirst-quenching beverages.
Having the circus come to town was an adventure and a thrill for everyone who was able to attend. Living life to the fullest and experiencing all it has to offer is a gift. Take time out of the hectic pace of everyday life and take advantage of every opportunity to live. “Life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth,” Martin H. Fischer. Thank you, Culpepper and Merriweather, for bringing the circus to town.