The Big Top in a Small Town.

Imagine the excitement when a circus comes to town.  In the days before flyers are posted on poles and buildings, and appear on kitchen tables, having been brought home with eager hope for a trip to the Big Top!

Children hum with anticipation, pulling out any possible coins they may have saved over the year. Businesses plan to close for the day, farmers will do their chores early, the circus is coming, the circus is coming to town!!!

From Water for Elephants

*In 1884 The Col. Giles Great American Two Ring Circus travelled to town, with 65 wagons full of delight for the villagers viewing, parading through town, previewing the coming excitement. They quickly set up, strong men pulling the ropes of the Big Top up above the tall poles. The canvas was set, and the show was on. There were lion tamers, sideshow acts, *candy butchers selling candy, sundries, and souvenirs from stands.  With two big tops the entertainment was doubled. Trapeze acts brought breathless gasps under one tent while dancing elephants with costumed riders entertained under the other. The populace was wowed.

*The next morning the Col. Giles circus loaded back up to head to their next stop in Glencoe, MN.  The wagon that held the lion veered off the road and headed down the hill towards Pigeon Lake.  Luckily the lion did not escape, and was unharmed, and soon the circus was on its way

*Other circuses came to town, WW. Coles, Forepaughs, Sells Brothers, Gollmar Brothers, John Robinson and the Campbell Brothers.  And eventually the Ringling Brothers brought their show to town.

Circus day was a holiday, one looked forward to every year.  An opportunity for just a little bit of tawdry glamour to grace the streets of Dassel.

Circuses have changed over the years; the glitzy appeal has been overshadowed by our awareness of humane treatment of performers and animals alike. We have learned much and changed much. But still, the excitement was an unquestionable part of growing up in a small town many years ago.

Author’s Notes

* Candy Butcher Definition, I was also confused! https://www.circusesandsideshows.com/butchers.html

*Much information was received from Those were the Days by Oscar Lindquist

*All dramatic interpretation was my own.

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