The Circus Comes to Town

Posted on September 2, 2009

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They promised more than they could deliver. They said we’d get 11 elephants, 13 tigers, 14 horses, five zebras and 33 dogs in the parade. Yeah, not so much. They said it would start at 9:00 AM and end around 12:00 noon, but I never believed that. There’s no way to guarantee a schedule when you’re moving a convoy, especially one of animals. Still, how many chances do you get to watch the circus come to town? So I went down to the ShoWare center in Kent, WA to watch.

Tents behind ShoWare Center

Tents behind ShoWare Center

I wandered around the area, checking things out.

The final approach to ShoWare

The final approach to ShoWare

I picked a place to stand when the parade finally arrived.

The venue

The venue

Only one TV channel showed up for the parade.

The trucks arrived well before the animals.

The trucks arrived well before the animals.

Every little arrival got everyone excited.

The police led the way

The police led the way

Once the cops showed up, we knew they were close.

Pachyderm sighting

Pachyderm sighting

Then, around the corner, they came.

They pass right by me

They pass right by me

They were smaller than I expected, but I was still excited.

Then came the horses

Then came the horses

After the horses came the street sweepers, and the rest of the police.

There were some smart mouth remarks when it ended. One man, who lived only a block from the parade route, complained that after hours of waiting it was over in less than 4 minutes. One teenage girl said, “That was boring.”

You know, I can remember when the most effective marketing tool for Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus was the parade. Even when they only had to go from Penn Station to Madison Square Garden, they had a parade. There were clowns, horse-drawn cages with lions and tigers, acrobats, and more. Decades later, this is all that’s left. Circuses are dying out. Elephants are endangered. On this particular day, I got to see history walk right in front of me. I got to stand just a few feet from live elephants, with no bars or glass between us. Boring? I beg to differ.

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