You Too Can Get All-Access to Circus Performers and Animals

August 27, 2004 -- Posted at 11:00pm CDT

JONESBORO, AR - Imagine meeting circus performers and seeing animals up close, and getting to do it for no extra charge. It's a new element added the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus experience.

One hour before show time, circus-goers made their way into the Convocation Center, and quickly take their places ring-side.

"I've never been to the circus," said Kylie Brickey, a first grader at Valley View.

Those wide-eyed guests visiting for the first time, and veterans of the circus got the chance to talk with performers and see animals back stage.

Chris Miller, a 10 year old, said, "It's really fun and exciting."

"It's pretty cool," added Danielle Hicks, a 9 year old who last visited a circus when she was 3 years old. When asked what the best part is, she said, "The (peacock) feathers (they use to teach kids how to balance things on their chins and noses)."

Dustin Miller, a 6 year old, told of his favorite thing, "I like that trampoline thing."

They also got to see tasks that aren't part of the show, and learn how to do some of the tricks of the ring.

"My favorite part was when the elephant painted, because I've never seen an elephant paint," added Kylie Brickey.

"All-access" in exchange for purchasing a ticket. After 60 minutes of picture taking, juggler gazing and on top of shoulders sitting, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey's Hometown Edition was underway. This is a show where it definitely pays to arrive early.

Chris Miller added, "It is the Greatest Show on Earth."