Thursday night we did something a little out of the ordinary...we went to the Ringling Brothers' and Barnum and Bailey's circus. Yep, we sure did. And we didn't even invite the kids. It wasn't really our idea. Our friend, Matt, planned the trip as a surprise party for his wife's 30th birthday. Doc and I were in on the plan - we invited Matt and Mary over for "dinner" that night so she wouldn't make other plans. Everything went smoothly, except that Mary arrived at our meeting place before most of the party goers! Oops.
Mary's mom brought party props for the big surprise. Here are all the girls in our party hats.
Allison and I were excited about going to the circus!
Well, we were excited, that is, until Doc reminded us about the clowns.
After a few minutes of mingling, Matt passed out our tickets and we headed across the street to the circus. We were greeted by this big Christmas tree.
Luckily, I chose to enter through the door that had a friendly security guard, because he let me sneak my camera in. Who knew you couldn't take a big camera in to the circus?
As we made our way to our seats, the lights were still up and there was only one ring. I'm not going to lie, I was a little unimpressed. "Where are the elephants?" I asked.
After a few minutes the lights went down and it's like they had read my mind. The first performer to come out from behind the curtain was on an elephant!
Matt and Mary were sitting in front of us with their little girl, Wesley. Wesley did not like all the music and fireworks. Poor thing didn't last very long at the circus.
I didn't take pictures of everything, for fear that my camera might get taken away from me, but I did try to sneak in some pictures of my favorites. First up: the dog show.
I couldn't get good action shots of the dogs but they jumped through hoops and over hurdles right and left. They were pretty cute! (As opposed to the cat show, which just seemed kinda cruel. We all agreed that being the cat lady in the circus would be the worst.)
Next came these people on a motorcycle - up on a wire in the air! Doc made fun of me when I gasped just as loud as all the kids there. I was just so nervous when that thing started swaying from side to side!
Two guys entertained us with some tightrope walking. Their finale was when one of them got on the other's shoulders as they walked across.
Next came a group of jumpers and flippers that managed to flip this girl up onto these two guys.
Ok, this next part is a little crazy. These two girls twirled and hung in the air by their hair. Their ponytails were the only thing holding them up. My head hurt just watching it!
There was a brief intermission so the circus crew could set the ring up for the next half. Here's a blurry pic of some of our friends in attendance, including the birthday girl.
And, since it's not every Thursday we get to go to the circus, Doc treated me to a $10 sno cone in an elephant mug. Isn't he sweet??
After intermission, the first performance was by a lion tamer. He had about six or seven lions in the cage with him and he lined them up to perform tricks. A couple of them took turns jumping over each other, which was cute. This lion got a snack from a baby bottle.
And I'm pretty sure this one would have preferred his snack to be the lion tamer, not the piece of raw meat on the end of the stick.
The next part was the highlight of the evening for Doc. It wasn't the ninja-like guys that came out, but when the little girl sitting directly behind us got excited and yelled out "Oooh! Nunchucks!" at the top of her lungs. Awesome.
She was right, they had nunchuck-type things that they did tricks with, along with some pipe bending and what have you. At the end, they brought out this ring of blades for one of the guys to jump through. He made it through with no problem the first time, and so they brought out a blindfold to make it harder. He made it through once again, so the next time they really took it up a notch: they set the blades on fire.
And, even with the ring of blades on fire, the ninja still blindfolded himself.
Boom! He made it through the ring of fire!
Thank goodness, because I would not have wanted to be watching if that went wrong.
The elephants made another appearance. This time they performed several tricks for us. I think I might like to have an elephant. They just seem so cute, and kinda like they just wanna curl up in your lap even though that probably wouldn't end well.
After the elephants came another group of flippers, but this group used see-saw type things to throw each other into the air. The first big started with this setup:
Let's see if I can remember how this went. That guys with his arms up above (along with another guy) ran and jumped on the opposite end of the see-saw on the left.
That sent the guy that was already standing on the see-saw flipping through the air...
...and he landed on the end of the see-saw on the right which sent the girl flying through the air...
...and she landed on top of this pyramid.
They did another similar trick but this time with two girls. You can't really see it in this picture, but there are two guys up on a platform that are about to jump down onto the see-saw that two girls are standing on.
And once again, the girls went flipping through the air onto pyramids.
Pffft. I bet I could do that. It doesn't look that hard. [Yea right.]
And that was about it for the one-ring circus.
All in all, it was a pretty fun night. Not really what I had expected (no tents? and where were the bearded lady and the live mermaid?) but still a good experience. It was almost like watching 10 auditions for America's Got Talent in a row. Matt, thanks for inviting us and Mary, I hope you enjoyed your surprise party!