The last time I visited a real circus was probably when I was in primary school. At that time there were still a couple of local circuses traveling around The Netherlands, but I think most of them stopped operating many years ago already. I have seen other top circuses such as the DPRK State Circus in Pyongyang (amazing acts, but you can only see them if you manage to do a trip to North-Korea), some circuses in Shanghai and of course the Cirque Du Soleil. But they are different from what I call a ‘real circus’: a traveling group of entertainers with clowns, animals and of course a big tent, that stays in each town for just a few days.
After reading Water For Elephants a couple of months ago, a book that describes the life of people in a traveling circus in the US in the 1930s, I was looking forward to seeing a real circus again. So when I saw a circus tent being set up next to the Vecht river in Ommen I decided to go there. For some reason the local government in Ommen did not allow the circus to advertise in town (something I totally disagree with, this is a great event for kids and their parents and for the many tourists in Ommen that pay lots of tourist tax every day, and the government should support this – but I digress), so it was difficult to find out when the shows would take place.
So yesterday I just drove my car to the tent of Circus Sydney, asked the people there and immediately reserved tickets for the show this afternoon. The best tickets of course, when you only go to a real circus once every 20-30 years you might as well get the best seats! So this afternoon we woke up the kids a bit earlier than usual from their afternoon nap and we drove over to the circus to see the show.
Circus Sydney seems to be an Australian circus that is now traveling around Europe. They are not very big (about 20 entertainers in total during today’s show), but the show is fun, especially with kids. They have a clown that fills the intermezzos, acrobats, dancers, and of course several animals (horses, dogs, llamas, camels).
Because we were on the front seat we had an excellent view, but sometimes we were a bit too close to all the actions for our kids. At a certain point Scott was so scared of the horses that were a mere 50 centimeters away from him that he decided to move to the second row, where Elaine was already sitting. Later he came back, but he held onto me and my dad tightly when the camels or other animals came too close.
During his first act the clown needed an assistant and he asked me to join him in the ring. Always fun to do, so of course I participated. Scott was very happy to see me in the ring with the clown!
I liked the show. You can’t compare it to the big shows like you see in China or in North-Korea, or to big budget shows like Cirque Du Soleil, but it has a very friendly, family-like feeling. Some small things went wrong during the show, but that makes it actually more interesting to me. I enjoyed watching the 2 hour performance (incl. a 15 min break), and the kids also loved it. If you’re in Ommen over the next 3 days or if you see Circus Sydney (owned by Alexander Scholl) somewhere in your area, make sure you visit. Especially if you have kids it’s a wonderful afternoon or evening out.