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Circus Snacks

Matt “Toy Store” Zimmerman explaining the ins & outs of hawking to Declan

“Cotton candy, as Matt ‘Toy Store’ Zimmerman would say, truly is magic in a bag,” says Brian, the backlot manager, when asked his opinions on popcorn and cotton candy.

Cotton candy and popcorn go with circus like jugglers and acrobats; you just can’t have the full circus experience without these classic treats. But what about the people who spend every day around the stuff? Is one snack better than the other? I set out to find some answers for you, and here they are.

“I prefer to eat popcorn while I watch the show, and I watch the show every single day,” says Jenna the house manager, “Cotton candy is fun to spin, but I only need to eat it about once a year to get my fix.” So that’s one vote in favor of popcorn, let’s see what the rest of the crew has to say.

I got one strong vote for cotton candy from LeeAnne, the lighting tech, who said, “popcorn is boring and tastes like styrofoam,” which earned a few laughs from other staff members gathered around the picnic table.

Cotton candy or popcorn? Which one is for you?

Cotton candy, or “floss” as it is known in circus lingo, is a bit notorious among the staff. The sugary-sweet treat has a reputation of covering hair, clothes, even eyebrows while it’s being spun.

“If cotton candy could stay 3,000 feet away from my equipment, then I’d like it,” joked McKenna, the production intern. McKenna has been known to end her days with a handful of leftover popcorn.

That leftover popcorn serves a few purposes around the courtyard, the small quad where crew members spend their freetime. It shows up at the end of each day, the leftover bits filling a small plastic bag. “It makes a good footrest,” says Robert, a member of tent crew.

Iris, Smirkus’ sound engineer, offered a special perspective that might just be able to unify the crowds. “I recommend mixing them together and eating them at the same time.” People have been known to wrap a piece of cotton candy around each popcorn kernel, creating the perfect balance of salty and sweet.

No matter the jokes that are made or the opinions we have, at the end of the day you’ll find staff gathered around a giant bag of leftover popcorn and if we’re very lucky, a few tufts of cotton candy. Rest assured, all of these circusy treats will be gone by morning, each of us ready to take the delicious snacks off the hands of the concessions crew whenever it is offered.