The North Bend Eagle


 

Chamber to present old fashioned circus entertainment

by Nathan Arneal
Published 7/24/31

The Big Show is coming to the Bend.

The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus will be putting down its stakes and raising the big top in North Bend on Aug. 12 in an event sponsored by the North Bend Chamber of Commerce.

Donna Moos, an administrator with Culpepper & Merriweather, says visitors can expect a traditional, old-fashioned circus experience.

“It’s just a good, rounded-out variety of acts,” she said.

Circus coming to North BendDelilah and her handler entertain the crowd during the C&M Circus show.

This year the C&M show includes acts from a variety of animals such as lions, tigers, ponies and dogs. The circus also includes a range of acrobatic human acts including a trapeze artist, a family unicycle act, a girl who does tricks while hanging from her hair and many other performances.

“It’s nothing like Cirque du Soleil,” Moos added with a laugh.

The circus will be setting up on the empty lot between Birchwood Manor and North Bend Central High School at 12th and Walnut streets in North Bend.

The public is invited to watch the big top tent go up between 9:30 and 10 a.m. on the morning of Monday, Aug. 12. After the tent is up, visitors are invited to stay for free tours of the circus grounds where they can meet some of the performers look at the animals. Circus personnel will give a presentation on circus life and history, talk about caring for the circus animals and be available to answer any questions.

In recent years, the tent-raising and morning tour has become a popular program for families and interested community members. It is presented in a way that will be enjoyed by all ages.

At 4 p.m. Aug. 12, the box office will open up as well as the C&M midway featuring pony rides, a moonbounce, concessions and more.

Culpepper & Merriweather will put on two 90-minute shows that evening, starting at 5 p.m. and 7:30. Tickets for the circus are now on sale in North Bend at Platte Valley Bank, Ron’s Pharmacy, Do-It-Best Hardware and the North Bend Eagle. As the local sponsor of the event, the North Bend Chamber of Commerce receives a portion of the revenue from ticket sales. The Chamber uses money it raises to put on such events as Old Settles and the holiday pancake feed.

Out of town folks can order will-call tickets at the discounted advance prices by calling 1-866-BIG-TOP6 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. Will-call tickets can be reserved until 4 p.m. on the day of the show.

The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus puts on about 400 shows a year from mid-March through mid-October. The circus usually performs seven days a week with only a rare day off.

During the winter, the C&M Circus hangs its top hat in Hugo, Oklahoma, a town that has been nicknamed “Circus City, USA,” because it has been the winter quarters for 20 different circuses throughout the years. Currently, three active circuses call Hugo home, including the Culpepper & Merriweather.

The acts featured in the C&M Circus come from all over. Typically, an act will spend one or two years with a circus before switching to another circus in order to keep the show fresh.

“The circus community is small community,” said Moos, the C&M administrator. “Everybody knows everybody.”

One of the mainstays of the Culpepper & Meriweather is the Dykes family, who prefrom a unicycle act as the Arlise Troupe. The family’s kids literally grew up in the circus, even working in other circuses in the south while C&M is wintering in Oklahoma. The Dykes children, who are homeschooled while on the road, were featured in a Nickelodean Nick News special called “On the road with circus kids.” The oldest Dykes daughter, Simone, now serves as one of the ring mistresses and recently married the owner of the circus.

“The circus is all a big family, even if they’re not really family,” Moos said, “but in this case they turned out to be.”

For more on the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus, including pictures and videos, visit the show’s Facebook page at cmcircus.com.

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