Ever wonder if a guy could do a headstand on another man’s head…while juggling? Yes, yes he can. If he’s part of the Midnight Circus.
The blue and purple Big Top pitched itself in Hamlin Park (3035 N. Hoyne Ave.) this past weekend for four record-breaking performances of Circus in the Parks, the first year Hamlin Park has hosted the event.
From acrobats to aerialists, tight rope walkers to jugglers, the performers in each act dazzled with their feats of strength, flexibility and artistry.
“I was super impressed with the young girl,” said Heather Knezevic following Sunday afternoon’s show, referring to a junior aerialist. The Lincoln Park mom attended with her eight-month-old and four-year-old daughters. “She looked like she was loving it,” Knezevic said of her elder child, though the infant found the proceedings little more than noisy.
“They’re really fun and it’s for a good cause,” added Jen Beattie, who’d previously attended Circus in the Park at Welles Park. Her son Sam allowed that “maybe” he could perform some of the “twirls” he admired.
Youngsters clearly found the show inspirational as well as entertaining. During intermission–the show runs roughly an hour and a half with a 15-minute break–children could be seen climbing trees and ropes and practicing tumbling routines.
First-time circus-goer Elizabeth McCoy thought she and her husband (props, by the way, to all the men who gave up the Bears game) enjoyed the show more than their girls, ages eight and four. “We understand the severity,” she said of the difficulty of the acts.
Jody Boutell, president of the Hamlin Park Advisory Council (HPAC), credited the 60 volunteers per day who made the event such a huge success. Between advance and walk-up ticket sales and concessions, Hamlin brought in nearly $30,000, the Circus being one of the Park District’s biggest fundraisers. HPAC has earmarked its portion of the proceeds to go toward a campaign to renovate the park’s playground.
Hamlin Park was the first stop on the 2012 Circus in the Parks tour. Next up: Welles Park, Sept. 15-16, purchase tickets here; Chase Park, Oct. 20-21, purchase tickets here. Quick tip: Pack a picnic blanket in case you don’t snag a bleacher seat.