Summer Fun Under The Big Top

Circus-goers file into the Big Top on Tuesday afternoon, July 2, 2019, near the Green Mountain Mall in St. Johnsbury Center for the first of four shows Circus Smirkus will perform in town. A second show was set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Wednesday shows are at 1 and 6 p.m. (Aerial photo by Dana Gray)

ST. JOHNSBURY CENTER — The circus is in town!

Circus Smirkus is making a two-day stop in St. Johnsbury, presented by Catamount Arts. The shows are Tuesday and Wednesday in St. Johnsbury at 1 and 6 p.m. on the grounds of the Green Mountain Mall, on Route 5.

One of the troupe members is local student Asom Hayman-Jones, 17, of Glover, who is a rising senior at St. Johnsbury Academy.

According to Circus Smirkus, they are the only touring youth circus in the country that travels with its own European-style Big Top tent. A cast of 30 troupers travel the summer to 16 venues in five states and will perform 69 shows in 51 days.

“The Big Top tour provides dazzling family entertainment to 50,000 spectators annually and has helped presenting partners raise over two million dollars to date,” a press release explains. “Catamount Arts has been presenting Circus Smirkus in St. Johnsbury since 2013. Since then, the Big Top tent has become a summer fixture in the community, often drawing sell-out crowds from the Northeast Kingdom and beyond.”

For folks who can’t run away with the circus, there are various ways to be part of the fun when the Big Top comes to town. Smirkus relies on an extensive network of host families and volunteers in every town on the Big Top tour.

“Really, it’s a community event,” says Jody Fried of Catamount Arts. “Every town has its local sponsors, teams of volunteers, households opening their homes to performers. Every year, we get to welcome them back like family. They are family.”

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