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50th Annual Shrine Circus set for April 26-28

By David M. Fitzpatrick, Of the Weekly Staff

The Anah Shrine Circus returns to the Bangor Auditorium Friday through Sunday, April 26-28, with two important footnotes: It will be Anah’s 50th circus in Bangor, and it will be the final one at the Bangor Auditorium, which will be demolished after the new Cross Insurance Center opens this fall.

Funds raised from the circus benefit local Anah Shrine programs and community projects and the Shrine’s operating fund. More than 1,000 area Shriners and their ladies volunteer to help make the circus happen.

This year, a great lineup is ready to wow audiences.

The One and Only Johnny Peers. As a boy, Peers helped his father run a concession stand at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. His love of the clowns led him to become a clown. He’ll entertain audiences with his comedic style.

The Muttville Comix. Peers will return to the ring with Muttville Comix, a canine Vaudeville act where his troupe of rescue dogs jump rope, climb ladders, and knock Johnny down. Peers and his pups have toured with several circuses, visited with David Letterman and Regis Philbin, appeared on “Seinfeld,” and won the top prize on Animal Planet’s “Pet Star” in 2003.

The Rinny Family. This cycling troupe is sure to amaze with incredible feats on bicycles and unicycles, including jump-roping on unicycles. Jonathan Rinny even rides a tiny bicycle a few inches long, and he’s famous for riding cycles with five or seven vertically stacked wheels.

The Amazing Jonathan. Jonathan Rinny also will wow the crowd with what he calls “rolla-bolla”: balancing on cylinders. He stacks them and other objects, such as basketballs and skateboards, while performing incredible balancing acts.

The Oliveros. The talented Rinny family will take the ring as The Oliveros to display astounding juggling feats. This act that is truly impossible to describe is just what you’re going to see, so be sure you don’t miss it.

The Marino Duo. George and Luisa will amaze with feats of agility and strength, as Luisa hangs in a variety of ways from George high above the floor and without a net, including George holding her by his teeth, Luisa hanging by just her toes from George’s armpits, and George hanging by his neck while Luisa clamps just her legs around George’s foot as they spin.

Luisa will also perform two solo acts. The first features her doing aerobatics on the Roman rings; the second is her “The Lady in the Moon” act, where she’s suspended high above the floor in a metal rendition of a moon, and she’ll perform impressive balancing acts using handholds.

Duo A&A. These two guys seem like superheroes exercising during their off hours. Adam Vasquez and Anton Makuhin perform feats of strength and stamina that seem to defy logic and physics. Called “hand to hand balancing,” the pair pull off seemingly antigravitational displays.

Castle’s Performing Bears. These talented bruins are a favorite at other circuses. They do everything from dancing to balancing on balls to even riding a motorcycle.

The Urias Troupe. The Urias Family rides motorcycles inside a 16-foot-wide spherical steel cage — all around and upside-down. This is the family that created this oft-duplicated act. You’ll see two and three bikes zipping around, with a finale introducing a person who stands in the middle of the cage while it’s all happening.

The Anah Shrine Clowns. The Anah Shrine clowns, who are all local Anah Shrine members, are always the hit of the show, and each year they sign more than 8,000 autographs for the crowd. But it’s their classic slapstick routines that will have children of all ages laughing it up.

The circus will run for seven shows in Bangor: 3 and 7 p.m. Friday, April 26; 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 2 ; and 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 28.

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