What: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
When: 7 p.m. today; 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Where: UTC's McKenzie Arena, Fourth and Mabel streets.
Admission: $15 and $22; limited number of $29 premium seating and $39 VIP floor seats.
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has put out the welcome mat at McKenzie Arena this weekend. Circus officials say they hope visitors will see that the circus ring is not just a place for entertainment; it feels like home.
"The circus ring is the focal point of our community, the town square you might say," said a news release. "It's an office, a meeting area, a gym, a training facility and where we entertain millions of people every year."
This year's all-new presentation of the Greatest Show on Earth is called Barnum Bash, a traveling community of people, pets, animals, a school and nursery. With more than 100 cast and crew members, the mobile neighborhood is traveling to 45 cities across America this season, giving the performers a different backyard each week.
Among the new features this year are the Ringling Bros. Ringlettes, who host a preshow party. Partygoers can learn dance moves from clown DJ Dean, try on glitzy costumes, learn balancing and juggling skills, meet and take photos with circus stars and even step behind the curtain for an up-close look at the animal menagerie. The party starts one hour before showtime and is included in the ticket price.
Barnum Bash will include such international acts as Dimitri the Strong Man, Motorcycle Mania, Wheel of Steel and Hand Balancers, along with the stars of the show, the epic Asian elephants.
The Barnum Bash features:
• 4 semis plus a flatbed trailer and generator trailer
• 12,000 feet of cable
• 3 animal trailers
• 50,000 watts of speaker power
• 4 lighting and sound boards
• 3 confetti cannons
• 10 pounds of confetti and streamers per week
• 200 pieces of wardrobe
• 120- by 60-foot outdoor animal compound
• 40- by 30-foot indoor animal compound
• 25,000 to 30,000 miles to travel in 2012
• 3 Asian elephants
• 2 camels
• 4 horses
• 2 ponies
• 1 mini horse
• 12 dogs