LEWISTON — Asked what they like best about the Kora Shrine Circus, Soleil Joly and her brother, Parker, didn’t hesitate to answer, not even for a moment.

“Johnny Rocket,” said 12-year-old Soleil, speaking of the zany showman with the Mohawk who does everything from tuba to dancing to dangling from the back of a tow truck.

“The dirt bikes,” said 13-year-old Parker. “They get them in this round cage and it’s pretty cool to watch.”

Ah, yes. The famous Globe of Death.

The Joly siblings were in town from Monmouth to see the circus but also to work a little bit, too.

“Our grandfather and grandmother work here,” Parker said, “so they brought us along to help out. It’s pretty fun.”


In their bright orange Kora T-shirts, the kids were roaming the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, helping to restock inventory or doing whatever was needed.

“It’s fun to just walk around,” Soleil said.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Birt of Lewiston was holding a baby with one arm while pushing a stroller with the other. Her husband walked next to the couple’s 8-year-old daughter while hauling a child safety seat under one arm. That looked like a lot of work, too, but oh, no. The family said it was pure joy.

“We’ve been coming for years and years,” Birt said. “This is absolutely a yearly tradition. I’ve been coming myself for 19 years.”

As it has since 1953, the Kora Shrine Circus was out to entertain both children and adults. Popular acts like the Wheel of Destiny and the Dynasty Duo acrobatic performance were helping to do that, but so were the clowns, tigers and elephants, all fixtures at the annual circus.

A pair of women came early to the show Friday night to protest the use of elephants. That, too, has become a tradition as some people feel the animals are being abused by being forced to perform.

The circus continues with shows Saturday morning, afternoon and evening and Sunday with an afternoon show.

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