“When the Circus Came to Town”

Today, as memories come to me
From boyhood days that used to be,
I picture those old-time circus days
That we recall in so many ways.
For the interest of our girls and boys
I write of those hometown circus joys.

When the circus came to Kendallville
It always gave our hearts a thrill
When posters were laced around the town
Which pictured an elephant or clown,
Proclaiming a coming circus day
Which we would enjoy in every way.

In early morn our fun would begin
When the circus train would come rolling in
When we would watch the train unload
As wagons moved to the old Drake road.
Campbell field was the circus grounds,
An exciting place…with jungle sounds.

Rewarded for work and time well spent,
In helping to raise the Big Top Tent,
Our hopes and hearts were all aglow
With tickets for the big main show;
And tickets for the Side Show too,
Oh, what a wonderful travelling zoo.

The bearded lady, the midget so small,
The sad-faced clown, and the giant so tall,
And I recall how the whole crowd roared
At the man who ate fire and swallowed a sword.
One thing that would always make me laugh
Was the awesome sight of a tall giraffe.

The circus people…playing their roles
While banners streamed from the high tent poles.
The midway barkers all shouting so loud
To draw the attention of the crowd.
Balloons in the air, and pink lemonade,
But the best of all was the circus parade.

I loved those circus parades of old,
The shining Band Wagon with trimmings of gold,
The homefolks that stood in the summer heat
And crowded each side of our old main street.
The amusement and laughter of a clown
Made it a wonderful day in our town.

I remember the plumes that the horses wore
Back in those gay circus days of yore.
The beating of drums, the marching of feet
As bright painted wagons moved down the street
Bearing caged lions and tigers along
While the calliope filled our hearts with song.

We could hardly wait for the main event
When we would crowd the Big Top tent.
To see the daring “Slide For Life,”
And the midget clown with his big fat wife,
And performers who would fly with ease
So daringly…on the high trapeze.

There always were such acts, of course,
As the girl that stood on a running horse;
And the lion tamer…so daring and bold,
His act would make by blood turn cold.
The antics of clowns, and the circus band
Always made the Big Top so grand.

The circus was more than bright shining things,
The Side Show, and Big Top with three sawdust rings.
It brought great performers and wonderful clowns
To brighten the days of so many small towns.
I treasure the memories…that still linger on
Of those Kendallville circus days that are gone.


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