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Circus and other events need funds to survive
by Larry Wilson
Mar 31, 2008 | 591 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The circus was in town over the weekend. To be more specific, it was the annual Shrine Circus. Every school kid in the area, with the possible exception of the kids in year-round schools who were on their spring break, received a free ticket to the circus if accompanied by a paying adult. More than 50,000 tickets were distributed to the kids in northern Nevada and California.

By all estimates, the attendance at the six weekend performances of the Shrine Circus was a virtual sell-out. The kids, young and old, had a ball. They could take their programs and get autographs of the Klowns who were in costume, of course. At each performance, two lucky kids received a free bicycle and helmet, thanks in part to the special donation of Wal-Mart.

Cotton candy was everywhere. The Klowns made wonderful shapes out of multi-colored balloons to the delight and enjoyment of all.

There were no fights, drunken brawls or drive-by shootings. No one was arrested, handcuffed or taken to jail. It was an absolute fun weekend for the people of the Truckee Meadows. No kids or spouses were beaten or flogged. SMILES were the order of the day all weekend long. Families had a safe, fun and memorable outing that will undoubtedly spawn memories for years to come of a great activity the kids can look forward to having with their own family some day.

The circus performances were enjoyed each time it they were held the expectant munchkins, young and old, in the audience. The oohs and aahs echoed off the walls of Reno’s Livestock Events Center, which is an excellent venue for this circus. Before, after and at intermission, everyone could ride the camels and elephants in the arena area. A small petting zoo was available so the tykes could see, touch and enjoy goats, pot-bellied pigs, sheep and llamas. Kids could even ride the miniature horses in the circus’s center ring.

Shriners were evident everywhere throughout the event wearing their distinctive fezs and costumes. Even though the event was sponsored by the Shriners, they were all volunteers. The Shriners sponsor and run 22 hospitals in the United States and Mexico. The local Shrine Temple transports patients, free of charge, to the beautiful relatively new hospital facility, located in Sacramento, Calif. Shrine hospitals treat patients with burns, orthopedic, spinal, and cleft pallet maladies from birth to 18 years of age.

The Shrine Circus is just one of several local events that are a great draw for the Reno area. The others are the Great Reno Balloon Races, The Reno Rodeo, The National Championship Air Races and Hot August Nights. All are manned by volunteers and all manage to crank a considerable amount of revenue into the Reno economy.

All local governments should work diligently to ensure that all of the events continue to thrive as they all are run without any outlay of funds from government or private industry when it comes to payroll, overhead or any kind of benefits. They all provide a chance for families to enjoy activities together with minimal cost.

In short, let’s keep those smiles coming Reno.

Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at
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