For some children, the Kora Shrine Circus was all about the cotton candy. For others, it was the clowns.

But 8-year-old Marshal Devoe delighted in something bigger Saturday night. Something with teeth.

“I think it’s really cool,” he said, glancing at the 12 tigers and one lion in cages nearby. “There’s a lot of tigers!”

Marshal and his family, including dad David Devoe, a sergeant 1st class in the National Guard, sat in a special area the Shiners reserved for military families. Set in the middle of the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, the seats happened to give the Sabattus boy – who had never been to the circus before – a perfect view of the tiger cages.

“It’s a nice surprise,” said Debbie Devoe, Marshal’s mother. “It’s a nice perk.”

About 1,700 people were expected to attend the circus’ last Lewiston show Saturday night. About 1,800 attended in the morning and 2,600 packed the Colisee for the afternoon show. About 3,200 attended the two Friday shows.

This is the 56th year for the Kora Shrine Circus. It typically raises about $100,000 for the Shriners. The money does not go to the famous Shiners Hospitals for Children, but the funds help keep the club alive.

“If we don’t do this, then we can’t do the other,” said Shriner Potentate Karl Finnimore.

At the Saturday night show, several Shriners roamed the Colisee in clown makeup and cartoon-character costumes. Young children hugged them. Older kids gave them high-fives.

Four-year-old Camryn Robichaud shook the clowns’ hands and asked them to sign her program.

“I like to shake their hands,” she said. “Squeaky hands.”

Four-year-old Riley Palmer was more interested in polishing off his cotton candy as he waited for the show to start.

“It’s good,” he said of his first circus.

Like the Devoes, Riley and his family sat in the section reserved for military families. His father, James Palmer, is a Navy petty officer 1st class stationed at the Brunswick Naval Air Station. His mother, Michelle Palmer, is a Navy family ombudsman. Both appreciated the circus’ attention to military families.

“It means a lot to them that they’re not forgotten,” Michelle Palmer said. “They come to events like this and they see they’re not the only ones.”

More than 30 seats were set aside for the military.

The circus will head to the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland early next week and the Augusta Civic Center next Friday and Saturday.


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