Family Fun: Circus Smirkus in Plattsburgh

By Diane Chase

Circus Smirkus is coming to Plattsburgh this weekend, July 2-3 behind the Crete Memorial Center, 4 Beach Road. Since 1987, Circus Smirkus has provided an avenue for young people ages 11-18 an opportunity to learn circus performing arts through in-school and summer circus camp opportunities. Children are representing this year’s Big Top from 13 states and the United Kingdom.

This lofty goal initiated a movement to teach fundamentals as well as creativity from coaches from around the world as far reaching as China, Russia, Mongolia and around the U.S.

Children are immersed in the traditional circus lifestyle. They learn multiple circus acts as well as technical aspects like staging, concession, cleaning and rigging all while living at the Vermont base. There is even a Smirkling Camp for children ages 6 to 8.

So children can actually run away to the circus. The relief for parents is to know that it’s under the guise of summer camp. There is no Circus Smirkus camp for parents. I looked. If anyone needs to run away to the circus it’s probably parents. We will have to settle for seeing the show.

This year Circus Smirkus comes to Plattsburgh as part of a fundraising opportunity for the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum who will use the funds to complete Kids’ Station, an interactive educational and hands-on museum for children.

What to look forward to at the circus? This year’s them is “Wilderness Wonders: Outdoor Adventure so expect to see everything from clown explorers hunting Big Foot to an aerial act set on a hang glider. There are tight ropewalkers, alpine aerialists and lumberjacks juggling real hatchets. (Do not try that at home!) The show runs about two hours with an intermission.

There are still seats available for the 800-seat Big Top and all seats are unreserved so it is recommended to get there early to claim the best seats. Tickets are $18 for adults (13 and over) children (2-12) $15 and anyone under two is free. Tickets are for sale at Price Chopper (Malone, Lake Placid, Champlain), Plattsburgh’s YMCA, Champlain Valley Transportation Museum

(originally published in the column "Family Time" in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise)

photo credit: Harry Powers


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