The U.P. welcomes back the Shrine Circus

MARQUETTE — The Ahmed Shriners started their two-day stint in Marquette on Monday, filling Lakeview Arena with happiness and laughter. Kids from the U.P. had a chance to experience a slew of new activities they otherwise may not have.


“I think it’s the fact that the chance for a lot of the kids in the U.P. to actually see some animals they’ll never see can be a pretty big thing,” said General Circus Chairman of the Ahmed Shrine, Ryan Engle. “How often are you going to see the largest elephant in North America?”

Every year’s show is a little different in order to keep the magic alive and well into the following year. This year, the show’s acrobatic routine has changed and won’t feature a flying trapeze artist, but there is still plenty of entertainment. Though the circus does bring a lot of smiles, there are some deep-rooted fears that come into play when the circus is on town.

“There’s a fear of clowns, more and more and that’s an unfortunate thing that we are seeing, but my hope is with us continuing to clown and do things and for people to see us having fun and helping kids instead of the scary stuff that you see, people will change their perceptions on that,” Engle said.

Our Sports Director, Sam Ali, went undercover and put that theory to the test. While some kids, and even some adults, were hesitant to even walk by Sam, his kids were full of joy to see him in his clown outfit.

And according to Engle, that’s one of the keys to being a great clown.

“Heart- that’s what it takes to be a successful clown,” Engle said. “You have to want it, you have to like kids and just enjoy having a good time. That’s what makes a good clown.”

If you missed the circus while it was in Marquette, there are still opportunities to see it. To view the tour dates, click here.