When the announcement was made that the Great Circus Parade was not going to take place, I was sad. Something that I enjoyed being a small part of was history and my daughter wouldn’t know the excitement surrounding this event. Today, it was announced that in 2009, the Circus Parade will again be held in Milwaukee.
I can only remember watching the actual parade one time and the memory is vague. I remember being in Baraboo, I remember a clown on stilts (who I think was actually a relative of mine), but I don’t remember much more.
What I do remember is seeing the Circus Train come through town every year. We would walk or ride our bikes to the nearest clear spot in the tracks, about four blocks from our house, and watch as the flatbed cars carried gorgeous, antique circus wagons down the track. The train would weave its way through southern Wisconsin, starting in Baraboo and ending up in Milwaukee. I have to admit that I’m a bit sad that I won’t be able to take Khaila to see the train go through town, but I understand the logistics and the fact that they can’t afford to renovate the rail cars.
Growing up with family in Baraboo, Circus World Museum was a place we visited almost every year. It wasn’t until I was probably seven or eight that I realized how lucky I was, that not every child had a circus blocks from their grandmother’s house.
I can remember the calliope playing every day and being able to hear it from my great grandma’s kitchen if the windows were open. I remember the outdoor trapeze show. There was a petting zoo just on the other side of the river. There was a “freak show tent” and multiple big tops.
This summer, we’ll be taking Khaila for her first trip to Circus World. Much has changed since I was young. You used to buy your ticket at the gate and you were immediately in the circus atmosphere. Now, they have a museum with exhibits and you buy your tickets in the building. I just hope that it is as magical for her as it was for me.