Under the Big Top

The arrival of Hay Festival means more than just literary giants, economists, philosophers and politicians – it also marks the arrival of Gifford’s Circus!  Gifford’s Circus is a magical, old-time travelling tent circus  – a traditional English circus, I’m told. The costumes evoke the glamour of the 1930’s, and the close confines mean you see a true performance – everyone in the troupe takes part in the ring at some point and  is both an artist and an actor.

The humor appealed to children and grown-ups alike, the music from the wildly costumed band was fun and lively.  

The opening parade included truly dreamlike costumes!

“Nanny” laid down the law in terms of all the rules of the show….

The ring was so tiny – but big enough for the horses to perform.

In between acts, two members of the band fought their own unique version of “duelling banjos”.

The tightrope walker was my favorite – she was simply amazing. (As someone who routinely trips over her own feet, I was blown away…) We watched them crank up and tighten the steel wire right next to us. I was impressed as she need only flex her pinky finger and the muscles on her back rippled.

This clever fellow was hilarious…

and he eventually 5 recorders at once. A few with his nose….
Eww. Wonder what he does should he get a head cold?

I don’t know what was more mesmerizing – the costumes, or their voices and music!

Seriously, their shoes alone would be motivation enough to run away and join the circus. They were definitely the most glamorous I’ve ever seen.

A second performance with horses was again delightful!  And look – they can teach their horse to bow.
I can’t teach my 6-yo to take off his shoes at the door. Huh.

The unicyclist was amazing. She balanced metal bowls on her feet/leg (up to 5 at a time) – and with a quick flip of her head, they stacked themselves up upon her head!

And then again, only on top of a giant ball! (I mean, seriously her
e. I battle with STANDING on the Bosu ball at the gym. On my own two feet.)

The tightrope walker takes one last spin in the big top…
Even the usher is glam!

And then Boo gets to join the cast for a dance in the main ring!

Always time for the bearded-lady-strongman. And her tiger brother….

Even the Hubs is inspired! Now THAT is some ‘stache!



I think we decided that this old-style travelling circus kicked the clown pants off of Ringling Brothers. 
It was enough to almost make me want to join the circus! (But, I already live in a ZOO. So that might not be such a different move, after all….)

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