Written by Gabriel Dillard
Growing up in Fresno, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was a big deal to me.
Going to the circus was a summer tradition for my family. I’m sure many Fresnans have similar memories, and may have even seen when the circus would parade its elephants from the Downtown Fresno train station to Selland Arena.
When the Ringling Bros. circus folded in 2017, I thought I’d never get another chance to take my own children to see a circus at Selland Arena.
Alas, there are other circuses, including the Garden Bros Circus, which will be in Fresno for two shows — 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. — on March 28 at the Selland Arena. The three-ring Garden Bros Circus gathers performers from more than 22 countries, with acts including the Crazy Kambarov Horse Riderz, Daring Aerial Artists, Human Pyramid, Motorcycles in the Sphere of Fear and more.
The circus is not without its controversy. I remember seeing animal rights activists in front of the arena, protesting the use of animals in the show. Those protests were a factor in the closure of Ringling Bros.
There’s also something romantic and nostalgic about the circus, especially these days when its harder to find entertainment for the whole family. It’s not possible to be glued to your phone screen if you go to the circus. There’s just too much to see.
The circus is also about tradition. The show hasn’t changed substantially since the circus’s roots in 18th century Europe.
For more information about the Garden Bros, visit GardenBrosCircus.com.