Circus Blogs: Camp News Big Top Tour News Residency News

From the Executive Director: A Boxcar of Work

Everybody knows PT Barnum. But my circus hero was his partner Jim Bailey, the operations miracle worker who was able to transport, unload, parade, feed, perform, and reload over 300 animals and 1,000 people every day.

As this summer season kicks off, I sprinkled a little popcorn in front of his picture and asked for the inspiration and gumption to hook up the engine, stoke the Smirkus train, and create the here-today, gone-tomorrow, circus miracle that thousands of kids yearn for all winter long.

This year Jim and all the circus angels that smile on Smirkus are working overtime. Our 30th Anniversary Tour promises flatbeds full of once-in-a-lifetime adventures.

  • Our Big Top Tour opens with an official visit from the Princess of the Council of Chiefs of Zambia attending to commemorate the first-ever participation in an American circus by a Zambian.
  • Smirkus Camp will open Baylin’s Retreat, a restful shady memorial sanctuary dedicated to former camper Baylin Coddington, where kids can gather and make new lifelong friends.
  • Our Ringmaster’s Circus-Artist-in-Residency program received a game-changing grant from the Vermont Agency of Education to design, conduct, and create a case study of how our artist-educators can work with school districts to evaluate progress in student-directed learning situations.
  • The Smithsonian Institute will host not one, but two Smirkus teams educating the American public about our origins in the dream of running away to join the circus, and the future of how we are using the magic of circus to change American education.

Angels aside, we have a boxcar of work to do to get ready.

It will be months before anyone at Smirkus can “Sit back, Relax, and Enjoy the Show.” In the meantime, we will be stoking the fires and waiting eagerly for you all you jump on board. Hurry summer.

See you down the road,

Ed LeClair