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The 2017 Big Top Tour Finale

Watch a video below of the final bows of the 2017 Big Top Tour Finale, including remarks from founder Rob Mermin and longtime executive director Ed LeClair.

Circus Smirkus has had the privilege of having Ed LeClair as the Executive Director for the last 14 years. At the end of the year, Ed will retire, leaving large clown shoes to fill! If you’ve never met Ed, his passion and dedication to the organization is palpable.

As Ed says,”the function of circus is to astound and amaze.” What’s also amazing is that Ed put the “function” in Circus Smirkus — creating budgets, annual calendars and planning systems behind the scenes, so that staff could prepare and plan for growth. Simply put, the organization became stronger during his tenure. His commitment to balancing systems, practices and policies and at the same time maintaining the dream where every kid runs home to the circus is the legacy that Ed leaves for us.  

Thank you for your years of service.  You will be missed.

Below is the text from Ed’s final address in the 30th Anniversary Big Top Tour program.

Want To Hear Something Funny?

I joined Circus Smirkus thinking I would get rich. Seriously. I was hired with promises that would’ve made PT Barnum blush. Stepping into the tent, I was sure my dreams had finally come true. It didn’t take long to realize those dreams were made of cotton candy. But in that short space of time, something else happened. I fell in love — walked into doors, slipped on banana peels, fell flat on my face — totally, unabashedly, in love.

It’s been a rewarding romance. Parents talk about the privilege of watching their children grow up. I’ve had that honor hundreds of times. As they progress from backstage to center ring, I’ve watched nervous, gawky, star-struck tweens grow into self-confident leaders: role models happily reaching across the ring curb to inspire the next generation of dreams.

These changes don’t stop with the kids. I’ve watched this miraculous, one-of-a-kind circus teach generations of staff that a satisfying life can flourish in the compost of hard work and service to others. I’ve seen parents, fans, audience members all fall under the Smirkus magic and experience the feeling of belonging, of being part of something larger than life. As the recipient and caretaker of decades of donations, I have been showered with generosity and kindness, witnessing the best of human nature again and again and again.

I guess those original promises weren’t so ephemeral after all. As I retire from Smirkus at the end of this 30th Anniversary year, my life has been enriched beyond my wildest dreams. I want to thank you all: kids, crews, staffs, families and fans. For almost fifteen years, every single day of my life has been a circus.

And I am the richer for it.

See you down the road,

Ed LeClair Producer & Executive Director