The Kelly Miller Circus, founded during the Depression, is marking another milestone this year as it celebrates its 74th anniversary.
Founded in 1938 by Obert Miller and his sons, Kelly and Dores, this traditional tented circus has seen the passing of the millennium and still offers the same great family entertainment it presented in its humble beginnings.
While the show in 1938 was little more than the Miller family, some ponies and a couple of monkeys, they still moved about the country, as they do today, in trucks and went through the same routine each day of setting up and giving performances in a new town.
The new 2012 season features elephants, horses, llamas, camels, clowns and a host of international circus stars, but each morning the public gets an altogether different kind of show as the circus lot comes to life.
Circus trucks pull onto the lot in the early morning hours, animals are unloaded, stakes are driven and elephants lift the giant big top into the air. The public is welcome to watch the spectacle for free.
After the first of the four massive main poles that support the big top are set in place, the public is invited to step into the tent and see men and beasts complete their work. A knowledgeable circus veteran will be on hand to explain the action and answer questions about circus life.
This season the Kelly Miller Circus will travel nearly 10,000 miles and give performances in more than 200 cities and towns as it winds across North America from March through October.
The show promises a more exciting and extravagant exhibition than ever. The circus comes to Itasca Sunday, Sept. 23, thanks to the sponsorship of the Itasca Lions Club. Performances will be at 2 and 5 p.m. in Washington Park, and the tent raising will begin at approximately at 9 a.m.
Advance tickets are available at Itasca Village Hall, Itasca Park District, Itasca Library and from any Itasca Lions Club Member. Tickets bought in advance are $10 for adults and $6 for children. Tickets purchased on show day at the circus box office will be $15 for adults and $7 for children.