Timeless tradition returns to South Mississippi

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX)- The Cole Brother's Circus is back for its annual visit in South Mississippi.  The travelling show is the oldest and largest circus still performing under the big top today.  This year, it celebrates its 125th anniversary of delighting crowds far and wide.

"When we first started, it was called Cole's Colossal Show," said Ring Master Chris Connors.  "Owned by a gentleman named Chilli Willy Cole. It was an old wagon show, and bigger than life."

Things have certainly changed since then, according to Connors, who leads 50 performers through a flashy show of acrobats, pouncy pooches, and death defying feats, including a 7-man pyramid on a tight rope; one of only 2 in the world, according to Connors.  Clowns and other performers generate laughs throughout the show.

"We had a lot of production this year," Connors said.  "A lot of dancing girls.  We have dancing butterflies, and we also have the sphere of danger.  We have 3 motorcycles in the globe which splits in half."

"I like the motorcycles," said John Farris, a regular patron of the circus.  "I can't believe they don't crash."

Farris' family is just one of the many dazzled every year by the timeless tradition.

"We get to actually go and do something rather than just the same old stuff," Farris said.  "This is something family-oriented that we could do."

They said the circus may feature some classic acts, but the big top spectacular is hardly a step back in time.  Crowds and performers agree the circus will amaze audiences for years to come.

"I'm happy that I still have a job," Connors said.  "I'm happy the children still come out and their still amazed.  Over 200 years, the circus has been around and the people still like coming out."

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