'Feel like a kid again' at Shrine Circus

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A tiger jumps through a burning hoop at the 65th Kora Shrine Circus at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — The circus is “where everyone can feel like a kid again.” With that, Ringmaster Peter Sturgis kicked off the 65th Kora Shrine Circus on Saturday night.

The Androscoggin Bank Colisée was packed with people toting flashing-light toys, cotton candy and popcorn for the fundraiser performed by the Hamid Traveling Circus.

The nearly three-hour show included clowns, trampoline gymnasts, aerial dancers and death-defying motorcycle stunts that had the crowd cheering and gasping.

The Hamid Traveling Circus is one of the last few that still include elephants and other animal acts. It traditionally performed in Portland, Lewiston and Augusta, but legislation banning circus animals from Portland kept it from performing there this year.

Ashley Dupuis, who attended the show Saturday, said the circus “could do without the animals. While my son enjoyed them, I don’t care for it.”

Two elephants were used as a fundraiser before the show and during intermission, for children to ride if they bought enough tickets. Four to five people would sit on the elephant’s back for a minute or two while it walked in a circle, guided by a trainer.

They also performed a balancing act toward the end of the show with trainer Terry Frisco.

Four tigers and a lion also performed with their trainer, who had them leaping from stool to stool and jumping through a flaming hoop.

The human acts had the crowd entertained and excited, especially the rock ‘n’ roll clown Johnny Rocket. He perked up the crowd with dancing, drumming and good-old clowning around with comedic falls and exaggerated movements.

Jugglers tossed pins, hoops and flaming sticks, aerial dancers spun on ropes and large hoops, and two Olympic athletes performed trampoline gymnastics.

Motorcycle acts included the so-called globe of death and a ride on a tightrope that extended over the crowd.

The Flying Almas performed a trapeze routine and the Rachel Bell Duo’s foot-juggling routine kept the crowd on its toes.

Kora clowns entertained children before the show and during intermission, taking photos and signing programs.

The money raised from ticket sales, food, trinkets and games will benefit Kora Shrine Center Operations.

The Kora Shrine Circus will perform at 2 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. Monday and will be in Augusta next weekend.

Johnny Rocket balances on a rope planted firmly on the floor at the 65th Kora Shrine Circus at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

A young aerialist performs high in the air at the 65th Kora Shrine Circus at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Trainer Terry Frisco attends to the elephant rides at the 65th Kora Shrine Circus at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Trapeze artists miss their connection at the 65th Kora Shrine Circus at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday. The net below caught the performers safely. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

A pair of elephants perform for trainer Terry Frisco at the 65th Kora Shrine Circus at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

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