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WCS2015 May Newsletter 

WCS entertainment director Joe Barney has announced the addition of two premiere clowns, Elmo Gibb and Chuck Burnes, Cole Bros. ringmaster Chris Connors, and a traditional and magical old-time flea circus presented by Bob Yorburg to the ever-growing line-up of performers and speakers during this five-day extravaganza. Also, WCS director Lane Talburt has announced the inaugural series of presentations focusing on circus photography. Ten American and international photographers will have their creative works displayed from Wednesday through Saturday in the Better Living Center on the Eastern States Exposition fairgrounds.  Read more …

Click to download the entire newsletter in PDF form.

Circus History for Sale at Worldwide Circus Summit 2015

By Gary C. Payne

“To fans of the circus this will be like opening King Tut’s tomb and everything is available for sale …” said the Worldwide Circus Summit 2015 Committee members, nearly in unison, when I announced that The Enquirer Printing Company of Newtown, Ohio, will be offering a large collection of circus memorabilia for sale at Worldwide Circus Summit 2015 (WCS2015), scheduled to take place July 14 -18, at the Eastern States Exposition grounds.

As I understand it, the folks at Enquirer Printing Company (EPC) came across this area of the warehouse and discovered they had more than they knew. John Anderson, president of EPC and one of the fourth generation of the Anderson family to own and operate the company said, “We have been looking for a way to put our warehouse full of circus posters, original art work, wood and metal circus cuts and wood type in the hands of true circus fans. With circus fans from around the world coming to Springfield in July to attend the WCS2015, we feel it is the perfect place for us to offer a portion of our archives for sale”!

Enquirer has been in business, owned and operated by the Anderson family, since 1890. It was the largest printer of circus posters in the USA for many years, at a time when the circus was the major form of entertainment, and circus day was a holiday in every town it visited. Each and every town would see it’s building’s walls covered with circus posters in the days before the circus arrived by train, paraded, and erected it’s big top and acres of tents. Circus day was like Disneyland arriving in town – usually for one day only! Enquirer still prints for many circus, including Kelly Miller Circus and Feld Entertainment, Inc, owners of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, as well as carnivals, fairs, amusement parks, and other entertainment venues.

Bill Robinson, of William Robinson Inc., has been retained by EPC to handle the sale. Says Bill, “Gary, everybody at the Worldwide Circus Summit 2015 is going to want a souvenier! What’s better than what we’ll be offering for sale. We’ll have items for $10. And we’ll have items for $10,000. Every box we open has another surprise. I don’t think that there has ever been, nor will there ever be, another offering of real circus memorabilia of this magnitude again.”

Robinson has been preparing for this sale for months and feels it a great opportunity to feature the sale at WCS2015, where nearly everyone registered would be inclined to have more than a little interest in owning some history. Yes, it’s not a stretch to say that to the circus fan, this will be like opening Tut’s tomb. What’s more, EPC will have a very large area open to conventioneers in our largest building, the Exhibition Hall, and you’ll be able to look over the material and talk to the experts from EPC.

The sale of memorabilia by EPC is but one of dozens of events taking place, many for the first time ever! WCS2015 is hosted by the Circus Fans Association of America who aspire to gather together each and every similarly minded group, (53 organizations and counting as we went to press), and each and every person, in the world inclined to love the circus!

Regular Registrations are being accepted thru and including May 31. On June 1st , rates go up! Register today!

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Clown Auditions at the Worldwide Circus Summit 2015!

From Peggy Williams:

Ringling Bros. is looking for a few good clowns!!

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to audition to become part of the World Famous Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Clown Alley will take place on Saturday, July 18, 2015.

Time: 10:00am – Noon.

Location: The Better Living Center building on the grounds of the Big E (Eastern States Exposition) in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

For site directions, see thebige.com.

Those auditioning should enter through Gate 2, and follow signs to the audition location. 

Watch for further announcements!

Worldwide Circus Summit 2015 Grows Again!

Gary Payne – CFA President Elect

I’m extremely pleased to announce that Worldwide Circus Summit 2015 will have the use of a 123,000 square-foot, air-conditioned exhibit building on the grounds of the Eastern State Exposition during our five-day event. We’re grateful to the management of the Big E for making this generous offer, since it enables us to switch from an open structure to an enclosed building with more than ten times the space!

This facility, one of the newest on the Big E grounds, will serve as the new location for our Circus Model Builders’ layouts and exhibitors of any scale. It also will enhance the presentation of a variety of events, given an abundance of electrical outlets. In addition, the Better Living Center will debut a major expansion of sit-down and fast-food dining offerings, which will be a great advantage for our on-the-go registrants.

bige-building-03WCS will continue to utilize the Carriage House for seminars and banquets, as well as the Storrowton Tavern with its meeting rooms, restaurants and bars. We’ll pitch a hospitality tent off the tavern patio where other events will unfold. And we still plan on holding our opening reception in the Carriage House and the adjacent New England Village Green.

There is much more to be announced in the coming weeks, but here’s an update on just a few of the major activities that we’ve added or enhanced in the past few weeks:

  • Friday night – a variety show featuring performing circus troupes and circus acts.
  • Wednesday night – A traditional circus sideshow on Wednesday evening, complete with banner line and bally platform and an amazing array of traditional sideshow acts inside.
  • The Saturday afternoon circus youth showcase, a performance sponsored and staged by the American Youth Circus Organization (AYCO).
  • Jackpot Joint – where circus personalities will be given the microphone to tell their many humorous and unusual stories in a more intimate setting.
  • International Circus Film and Video Festival, three nights chock full of non-commercial films honoring circus-fan movie-makers of the past and the newest independent films and videos devoted to the circus internationally.

We’ll be releasing the roster of speakers for the Circus: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow seminars in the near future. 

In the meantime, please be aware that all participants in this first-ever event will be paying the applicable registration fee. It’s a matter of fairness to all performers, exhibitors and the many others who are volunteering their services and paying their own way. As we originally stated, the Worldwide Circus Summit is designed by and for the benefit of circus people across the globe. Where else will you have the rare opportunity to rub shoulders with this many circus devotees, producers, owners, performers and exhibitors at the same time and in the same venue?

We welcome your ideas, we and appreciate the commitment that you’ve already demonstrated to making the Worldwide Circus Summit the best circus event ever.

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Good circus news continues to flow from the Worldwide Circus Summit 2015,  July 14-18, 2015 at The Big E Fairgrounds in West Springfield, MA.

A number of new participating organizations have signed on to the Worldwide Circus Summit 2015 at the Big E Fairgrounds in West Springfield, MA on July 14-18, 2015.

The WCS2015 welcomes new US-based performing organizations, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Big Apple Circus, Universoul Circus, Kelly Miller Circus, Bindlestiff Family Variety Arts, R.W. Commerford & Sons, Circus Smirkus and Circus Juventas.

New US-based circus organizations and publications include The Ringling Museum, Circus World Museum, Milner Library at Illinois State University, Circus Report and Spectacle Magazine.

An impressive list of new international participating circuses includes Brian Boswell’s Circus (South Africa), Circus Joseph Ashton (Australia) and Kinoshita Circus (Japan). Among new internationally based circus organizations are The European Circus Association, Gesselschaft der Circusfreunde (Germany), Le Club du Cirque (France), Circus Friends Association (UK), Circus Fans Italia (Italy), L’Association Monégasque des Amis du Cirque (Monaco), Circus Fans of Australasia (Australia and New Zealand) and circus magazines Planet Circus (Germany) and King Pole (UK).

Don’t’ be left out of all the Circus Fun! 

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CFA-President Elect and WCS2015 Founder Gary Payne announces that Ringling Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson will open the WCS2015 Summit: “Johnathan Lee Iverson is the voice of the Ringling big top, an advocate for performers and performing animals, and a fan of any friend of the circus, its people and its animals. Few people on earth can galvanize fans and friends of the circus as can Johnathan. We are thrilled that he will be our opening speaker.”

Feld Entertainment, Inc., Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Hamid Circus and the Circus Producers Association recently signed on as Summit participants. WCS2015 executives and program directors are working with each organization to determine how it will be involved in the receptions, seminars, workshops and panels.

If your circus-related circus organization is not already a Summit participant, join by contacting Gary Payne.  “Like” our Facebook page for all the latest news.

WCS2015 Participating Groups HERE.


Only Nine Months Away!

CFA Past President Don Covington and his team are putting final touches on a dynamic three-day program of presentations, seminars, workshops, demonstrations and roundtable discussions for the Worldwide Circus Summit 2015. Consistent with the Summit theme of “Circus – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” topics will range from discussions of past glories to explorations of current industry practices to brainstorming possible circus evolution.

A trio of circus experts will oversee each of the three thematic elements: Deborah Walk (Circus Yesterday), President of the Circus Historical Society and Tibbals Curator of the Circus Museum and Curator of Historical Documents at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; Peggy Williams (Circus Today), Educational Outreach Manager at Feld Entertainment and a former Performance Director and Clown with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey; Amy Cohen (Circus Tomorrow), Executive Director of the American Youth Circus Organization and a former Fulbright scholar whose mantra is “Circus can change the world”.

Speakers and panel members will include circus historians, researchers and professionals from around the world who will interact with their American counterparts to provide WCS 2015 attendees with an unprecedented perspective on the importance of circus and circus arts as global cultural icons. The program of thought-provoking inspirational, educational and motivational events will be included in the registration fee for every Summit attendee.

The Summit’s confluence of circus affinity groups will also provide a wealth of enrichment resources. For example, a clinic band from Windjammers Unlimited, the circus music historical society, will participate in a seminar that will demonstrate the critical importance of music in circus performance. Likewise, a panel of circus owners and directors will share their personal experiences in producing and marketing contemporary circus.

So, SAVE THE DATE to be part of “the largest international gathering of circus friends ever assembled” – the Worldwide Circus Summit 2015, July 14-18, 2015 at the Big E Fairgrounds in West Springfield, MA.

TEN MONTHS AND COUNTING . . .  

OABA Becomes WCS 2015’s First Major Sponsor

oabaWinter Park, FL – The Outdoor Amusement Business Association (OABA), a Florida-based trade association since 1965 for the mobile amusement industry, announced its sponsorship support of the Worldwide Circus Summit 2015, as their first major sponsor.  OABA, under the leadership of incoming 2015 Chairman Michael Wood and President Bob Johnson, will host the Summit’s “Opening Reception.”

“The idea of a worldwide gathering of circus friends is a huge step forward for the collective circus community and industry, both nationally and internationally,” said OABA President Bob Johnson.  “The OABA is proud to help its many circuses, circus members and sister associations to make this first Summit gathering a huge success.”

Johnson has been coordinating plans for this event with OABA Trustee and retired President/CEO of the Eastern States Exposition Wayne McCary, a celebrated circus producer and Honorary Chairperson of the WCS 2015 slated for the Big E Fairgrounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts on July 14-18, 2015. McCary was also appointed by the OABA’s board of directors as liaison to the Fédération Mondiale du Cirque, a circus-related association based in Monte-Carlo under the tutelage of H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco.

The OABA’s communications consultant, Rodney Huey, has also been engaged with the Summit’s executive committee in promoting the event. In addition, Joan Galvin with Kelley Drye Associates in Washington, DC, a recognized authority on USDA and state regulatory issues for animals and marine life, will be advising Summit organizers regarding its education programs.

The OABA celebrates its Golden Jubilee 50th Anniversary in 2015 and continues to advocate on behalf of the circus industry in America, protecting the rights of traveling animal exhibitors, petting zoos and exotic animal owners. The OABA also advocates on behalf of circus producers to assure that their foreign labor visa programs are protected.

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 C.A.T.S. Signs On as WCS 2015 Participant

The Circus and Traveling Show Ministry (C.A.T.S.), an outreach initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and headed by Circus Priest Father Jerry Hogan, is the most recent “friends of the circus” group to sign on to the WCS 2015, bringing the participant list to 18 international circus-related organizations.  Welcome Aboard!

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WCS 2015 Executive Committee Members Meet with CFA Officials

Key members of the WCS 2015 Executive Members will meet with Circus Fans Association of America officials this week at the 2014 CFA convention in Dubuque, Iowa to finalize plans for next year’s Summit. The CFA is the official host of the Worldwide Circus Summit 2015 slated for July 14-18, 2015 on the Big E Fairgrounds in West Springfield, MA.

WATCH FOR MORE SUMMIT NEWS COMING NEXT MONTH . . .

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PressReleaseColeBros365 Days and Counting!

“365 days and Counting Down!” – Cole Bros. Circus will headline the entertainment for the Worldwide Circus Summit 2015 in the Springfield, Massachusetts area on July 14-18, 2015.

Sealing the deal with a handshake as Cole Bros. Circus elephant Lulu looks on are (left) Cole Bros. Ringmaster Chris Connors, WSC 2015 Founder Gary Payne, Cole Bros. Circus owner John Pugh, and WSC 2015 Honorary Chair Wayne McCary.

Visit Cole Bros. website here.

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For immediate release:

Worldwide Circus Summit 2015 Slated for “The Big E” Fairgrounds
– Largest International Gathering of Circus Friends Ever Assembled –

West Springfield, MA (July 14, 2014) – The “first ever” Worldwide Circus Summit 2015 (WCS 2015) will bring circus enthusiasts from around the world to the fairgrounds of the Eastern States Exposition, home of “The Big E” in West Springfield, Massachusetts, on July 14-18, 2015. The Summit, hosted by the Circus Fans Association of America (CFA) and supported by a growing list of circus-related organizations worldwide, promises to be the largest international gathering of circus friends ever assembled. Participating organizations are expected to hold simultaneous conventions, meetings, workshops and entertainment while enjoying circus performances, concerts, exhibitions, special events and socializing.

“The circus knows neither geographical boundaries nor time periods,” explains Gary Payne, CFA President-elect and Founder of WCS 2015. “Circuses everywhere generate enthusiastic followings. The Worldwide Circus Summit 2015 will allow circus friends, supporters, enthusiasts and fans from around the globe to share experiences while collectively celebrating one of the world’s most popular live entertainment art forms.”

WCS 2015 will explore the theme “The Circus – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” through seminars, workshops and roundtable discussions intended to honor the illustrious history of the circus, celebrate today’s circus, and explore new horizons for the circus of tomorrow. Cole Bros. Circus will headline the circus entertainment when it appears in the Springfield area during the Summit. Negotiations are underway for a youth circus to present public performances on or near the fairgrounds.

Other attractions will include a menagerie, historical side show acts and a circus music concert by Windjammers Unlimited. The Circus Fans Association and the Circus Historical Society will each host a live auction of circus collectibles.