Capital & In-Kind Needs

How do you Build a Circus?

Running a circus is like feeding a hungry elephant, it always seems to need a trunkload more. Your generosity can add even more value to our history of excellence: Smirkus Camp, the Big Top Tour, and even improvements to the Circus Smirkus World Headquarters!

Take a peek behind the curtain to see how we turn your kindness into magic.


Aerial Equipment and Crash Mats
Smirkus constantly replaces equipment to ensure highest safety standards. In 2016, we replaced almost all the rigging. We’re now beginning the process of replacing our high-flying apparatus:

★ Trapeze (cotton): $350
☆ Duo Trapeze: $450
★ Cloud Swing: $425
☆ Lyra: $750

★ Double Point Lyra: $850
Crash Mats: $775 each

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.

Automatic External Defibrillator: $1,400
We want to make sure that our staff can respond immediately to emergency situations. AEDs are a smart and easy way to respond to those situations you hope never happen.

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!

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: $100 per tree

Other Capital Improvements

★ Install Gutters on Dorms: $6,000
☆ Repair the House Entryway: $700
★ Install New Siding on Dining Hall: $11,000
☆ Paint the House and Barn: $13,000



Road Cases: $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.

Eyewash Station: $350
The mud show tradition can be messy. Shaving cream pies can really sting. Having a portable eyewash station will make sure that suds and splashes can be washed, rinsed, and dried in no time flat.

Mattresses for Bunk Trailers/Trouper Trailers: $140
Mattresses are another item we replace on a regular basis, so we always need these!

Shop Improvements
We only have three precious weeks to build the show. These items could really speed up and improve our construction process.

Overhead Compressed Air System: $2,500
Overhead Electrical Wiring System: $2,500
Paint Booth: $7,500

Lighting for Tent Set-Up: $1,000
Our tent crew often gets to the next stop before anyone else, starting to pitch the tents before the sunrise. But it’s tough to raise the Big Top by moonlight. A set of battery-powered lights will let the kids in your town wake up to circus tents that have magically appeared overnight.

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.

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.

We use a lot of rolling stock to move the Big Top Tour down the road every summer.  Over the years we have purchased, rented, borrowed….and gratefully accepted donated vehicles of every kind.

★ Pickup trucks: 1 ton or larger
☆ Box trucks: 16′ and 26′
★ RVs and campers, either tow-behind or coach
☆ Bobcat A770 / Skidsteer



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
Our beloved Circus Barn is a typical Vermont farmhouse and it’s more than 100 years old, so we are placing 21st century business demands on an electrical system better suited to the….19th century?

Improve Land Use in Greensboro: $85,000
Vermonters have a term to describe the spaces that Circus Smirkus uses for its tents around our Headquarters: “mountain flat.” It may be level, but it’s not horizontal. It may be largely horizontal, but it’s far from flat. What fun it’d be to bring in the earth-movers and terraform the property we own to better accommodate the Big Top and practice tents!



We always need these things in one area of the Company or another.  Over the years we have been grateful to accept everything from power tools to RVs to keep the campers camping and the troupers moving down the road!

★ Garden cart
☆ Weedwhacker
★ Industrial and domestic sewing machines
☆ Clothing display racks
★ Wheelbarrow
☆ Vacuum cleaners
★ Unopened paint
☆ Bench vise
★ 10, 12, 14 gauge extension cords
☆ Tool Storage: cabinets, toolboxes, and rolling cases to keep these goodies in swell condition
★ Foam for building props
☆ Steel – angle iron, flat, tube
★ Plywood – assorted sizes and grades
☆ Wood – assorted sizes and grades – standard and pressure treated
★ Golf cart
☆ Compressor: 80 cfm, tow-behind