Behind the Scenes of the Detroit Shrine Circus 2014

Behind the Scenes of the Detroit Shrine Circus 2014

I received free tickets and back stage access with a tour in exchange for this post.  All opinions expressed here are honest and my own.


Ladies and Gentlemen! Children of all ages! May I draw your attention to the center ring?  The Detroit Shrine Circus made its way into town March 26th-March 30th at the Hazelpark Raceway.

As a blogger, I was invited (along with my 3 girls) for a backstage tour {A.K.A the Tunnel} of the Shrine Circus with performer and ringmaster: Richard Curtis.  I received a press pass to wear all during the tour, which I thought was pretty cool.  Even though it says Michigan Home Mommy Works (our sister blog/marketing) I thought I would promote in both places.  The Shrine Circus is definitely worth it.

Richard Curtis (ringmaster) shared with us a few fun and educational facts about the Shrine Circus that I found fascinating and very impressive.

Ringmaster: Richard Curtis


 Shrine Circus Facts

The Shrine Circus is considered European style.

The Detroit Shrine Circus seats 3,000 people

It takes 2 days (8-9 hours per day) to raise the big top held with rope lace, etc….

The Detroit Shrine Circus is a “family affair” and many members of the circus have more than one role.

The semi-trucks that transport circus props, etc. are known as “Seat Wagons.”

The oldest clown is 89-Bob Haffner

Circus children are homeschooled or do online public school.

This is currently the Shrine Circus’s 108th edition and is considered to be the first Shrine Circus in North America.

Circus Grounds

The 2014 Detroit Shrine Circus performers are as follows:

  • Rick Wallenda, “The World Famous Wallendas”-Daredevil tradition on the high wire.
  • Juergen and Judit Nerger-“Expert trainers of tigers and bears for more than 30 years.”
  • Erika Zerbini-“A ninth-generation circus performer.”  Wows audiences with “elegant exhibition of equestrian artistry.” She currently is the “youngest and most talented liberty horse and elephant trainer in the world.”
  • The Dragomir Troupe– “Third-generation Romanian circus performer performs the tetterboard and Perch Pole.”
  • Robert and Gabriella Zerbini-“Cousin of the Detroit Shrine Circus producter Tarzan Zerbini, trained in Europe in nearly all of the circus disciplines.  Sword balancing, juggling and trapeze act with wife Gabriella.”
  • Piolita the Clown– Hilarious Argentinian Videla, European-style clown. With his sons and wife Guillermina.
  • Richard Curtis– He is the glue that keeps the Zerbini circus together.  “He is one of the most sought-after ringmasters in North America.” He travels with his wife Kimberly and their three children.
  • Moslem Shriners Clown Unit: This is a volunteer group that offers the “Traditional Balloon Dash” to open the circus and original skit.
FUZZ-E the Clown


Clown Dressing Rooms

Not only did we see the traditional look of the circus tents along with clowns, etc., we got to see the amazing circus animals.  From the melancholy elephants to the fierce tigers, it was something every child should get to see at least once in their life.  Sure, you can see them at the zoo, but seeing them trained in a circus show, is even more exciting.

After our tour, we received coupons for free hot dogs, popcorn, and pop. Circus food, yummy!  After we were settled in our seats, the circus performers did their stuff! My girls were so excited.  Their faces were priceless throughout the entire show.

Elephant Rides

Our circus favorites were: Piolita the Clown and sons.  They were beyond hilarious.  My daughters loved the acrobats.  Their favorite was when they did a beautiful presentation to Disney Frozen’s Let it Go.  You could hear pretty much every child in the place singing right along.  My oldest daughter is a horse-lover so she admired any circus acts that involved the horses.

Pioleta the Clown and Son out of Character…

The show ran just over 2 hours with an intermission in between.  I think it was very well done with a few delays, but I think that’s to be expected in circus life.  Very unpredictable moments I am sure.

Were you and your family able to make it out to the Detroit Shrine Circus this year?  What were you and your child’s favorites?

Lindsey Jenn

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