Wilmette welcomes the circus
Assisting in raising the Kelly Miller Circus tent is Lisa, a 37-year-old ,8000 pound Asian elephant, who will also perform Friday evening in Wilmette. | Kevin Tanaka for~Sun-Times Media.
Updated: October 2, 2012 2:12PM
WILMETTE — In preparation for the District 39 Education Foundation fundraiser, representatives from the Kelly Miller Circus invited residents and schoolchildren Friday morning to watch them raise the big top prior to the night’s performances.
Tickets to tonight’s performances will benefit the school district, but circus hands put on a free show when Lisa the elephant assisted the crew in assembling the circus’ big top tent behind the Mikaelian Education Center.
Wilmette resident and District 39 Education Foundation board member Kelly McQueen brought her daughter Ella, 4, to witness the transformation.
“She wanted to see the elephants,” Sally said. “When we arrived, the big top was flat on the ground and within 30 minutes it was up. How often do you get to see that? It’s pretty cool.”
As the tent began to rise, onlookers were invited inside to witness the completion of the process. As guests walked in they were greeted by Lisa, one of Kelly Miller’s three elephants.
Lisa, with a little help from a tractor, helped raise the four center poles of the tent and crews outside worked to remove the last few wrinkles as show time approached.
Sarah Murphy, of Wilmette, brought her children, Gracie, 3, and Mike, 5, to check out the tent. They were able to take a ride on one of the circus’ camels afterward. The three already had their tickets for the 6:30 p.m. show and couldn’t wait to return.
“We’ve never seen a circus tent go up, and these two have never been to a circus ever,” Sarah said. “It was amazing to see the precision that goes into setting it up.”
Arriving while the tent lay flat on the ground and seeing it rise was quite a site for the children.
“The tent was really little then it got big,” Mike said, adding he’s excited to see his first circus.
Colton Berg and Jayden Salazar, both 5 years old, live behind the field where the circus pitched its tent. Both plan to attend the performances tonight and were able to get up close and feed the three elephants.
“I like them,” Berg said. “They’re so big. We fed them bananas and hay.”
The only downside to living so close to the circus?
“Their poo smells so bad,” Salazar said.