“So What Would You Like For Your Birthday?”
Running a circus is like feeding a hungry elephant, it always seems to need a trunkload more. There are four ways your generosity can help; we can use it to Keep Kids and Staff Safe, Save Money, Deliver World Class Programs, and Invest in the Future.
Take a peek under the tent walls below to see how we turn kindness into magic.
HELP KEEP KIDS (and STAFF) SAFE
Aerial Equipment and Crash Mats
Smirkus constantly replaces equipment to ensure highest safety standards. In 2016, we replaced almost all the rigging. In 2017, we begin the process of replacing our high-flying apparatus:
★ Trapeze (cotton): $350
☆ Duo Trapeze: $450
★ Cloud Swing: $425
☆ Lyra: $750
★ Double Point Lyra: $850
☆ Chinese pole (rubberized): $1,750
★ Crash Mats: $775 each
Training Mats: $250 each
Safety and tumbling mats are the building blocks of circus. We need to replace 12 for the upcoming season.
Big Screen Monitor: $500
Coaches tell us that instant visual feedback is the best way to teach safety and technique. A monitor would enable us to quickly show each kid what they are doing right, and what they need to change to stay safe.
Road Cases for Props: $500 each
The troupers are responsible for packing the show props into the prop truck. Ever seen a teenager pack a suitcase? Nine road cases would enable us to pack the entire menagerie of shows props safely. Every case makes a difference.
Connecting Tunnel: $4,000
Ever look backstage? There is a 25 foot open air walkway between the backstage tent and center ring. When it rains, costumes, equipment, and kids get wet and slippery. A canvas tunnel between the tents would allow a lot of staff (and circus mothers) to sleep better.
Mast Light Upgrade: $10,000
Those giant lights that we turn on so you can walk to your cars safely after the show? We also use them while the kids and staff tear down the tent and jump to the next town. With thousands of pounds of steel and canvas on the move, it’s no time to “go dark.”
HELP SMIRKUS SAVE (or MAKE) MONEY
Concession Ice Cream Freezer: $200
Ice cream cones on a hot summer circus day? This one kinda explains itself.
Cotton Candy / Popcorn Machine: $2,500 each
This is about as close as you can get to buying a machine that prints money. The profit margins can’t be beat. With those adorable troupers out selling during intermission, we turn sugar into scholarships and butter into better family entertainment.
Lawn Tractor: $5,500
We can save $2,000 annually with our own mower. No kids allowed. Promise. Double promise.
Each year Smirkus spends $12-$15,000 on van rental for tour and camp performers. A single twelve person van 9 or (2 seven person) would save us $6,750 annually.
HELP DELIVER WORLD CLASS CIRCUS PROGRAMS
“Big Ass” Fans: $800 each
It’s the manufacturer’s trade name: Big Ass Fans. Google it. We need four fans to keep the interior of the tent breezy and comfy for 800 eager circus fans. Trust us, you’re gonna love these.
Road Show Equipment: $2,500
As our Road Show programs expand, we are stretching to provide more and more equipment for our various traveling troupes. This includes sound equipment, crash mats, panel mats, juggling equipment, hula hoops… You name it!
Green technology is improving. We’ve designed a way to run the entire show, midway and back lot on giant batteries and a much, much smaller generator. Your contribution would make the entire show would be quieter, more reliable, safer and more ecologically friendly. Watch out Tesla.
INVEST IN THE FUTURE
Landscaping at Camp
While Smirkus camp provides an awe-inspiring view and a great feeling of openness, there are few cozy shady spots for kids and parents to relax in. The sun can be relentless during the summer and can drain energy from guests, participants and staff alike. Camp staff have strongly recommended that we provide landscaping and shade trees to enhance the experience and rejuvenate the spirit of our campers.
★ Park Benches: $250 each
☆ Picnic Tables: $250 each
★ Shade, fruit, and screening trees: $750 per tree
Mattresses for Bunk Trailers/Trouper Trailers: $140 each
The mattresses may even be older than the trailers. Who knows? All we can say is they have to be replaced.
We only have three precious weeks to build the show. These items could really speed up our construction process and leave us more time for the kids.
★ Overhead Compressed Air System: $2,500
☆ Overhead Electrical Wiring System: $2,500
★ Paint Booth: $7,500
Unicycle Park: $8,000
The popularity of various circus skills moves in cycles. (I think you can see where this is going.) Paving a small area at camp will help “level the playing field” for this fast-growing group.
Additional Bathrooms at Camp: $9,000
Speaking of comfort, the number one request at camp? Parents, kids, staff visitors all agree: “MORE BATHROOMS!” We hear you loud and clear. With your support, we can get started this spring.
Solar Power for Camp: $36,000
If we could just find a way to harness all those beaming smiles on the campers’ faces, we would be all set. Until we do, a solar system would save us almost $5,000 per year at camp.
Improvements at Headquarters:
Drill a Well at HQ: $9,000
Currently at Headquarters we “borrow” water from our neighbor’s spring. Very Vermont. Very unreliable.
Rewire HQ Farmhouse Electrical: $10,000
“Places everyone!” The lights dim. “Action!” Unfortunately, this is not a scene in the tent, but a typical workday at Smirkus HQ.
Improvements at Camp:
★ Repair the House Entryway: $700
☆ Install Ceiling Fans in the Dining Hall: $1,200
★ Install Gutters on Dorms: $6,000
☆ Repair Porches on Farmhouse: $9,000
★ Install New Siding on Dining Hall: $11,000
☆ New Roof on Farmhouse: $16,000
Improvements for the Big Top Tour:
Security Fencing for the Lot: $3,300
Fans love to meet the troupers and wander around backstage. That’s unsafe for all parties. Fencing would allow us separate fans from cast and crew. Plus, it makes the entire lot look sharper.
Ships Lights on Midway/Big Top Tents: $3,500
Stringing ship lights on the tent cables would provide and absolutely magical feel to the entire lot for evening shows. Smirkus does not encourage the use of animals in the circus, but those would be the cat’s pajamas.
Box Office/Office Trailer: $12,000
Circus is a cash business. We would feel a lot better about having a single trailer that would provide security and allow us to consolidate many of the “office” functions.
Replace Bunk Trailers: $15,000 each
The staff tour sleep in traveling bunk trailers. They are now older than many of the people that sleep in them. Crew members over 6’2” have to cut a hole in the wall and sleep with their feet “in the closets.”
Landscaping In Greensboro: $85,000
Circus Smirkus does not actually own the land we use for opening shows and finale in Greensboro. Seriously? Long term, we would be prudent to terraform the property we own to present the show on our own land.