Circus in town for Fourth of July weekend

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - With the Fourth of July upon us, there are plenty of events all over the Gulf Coast; but there was one patriotic gathering Wednesday morning that offered a little something different.

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is in town for the Fourth of July Weekend. A day before the official opening, a few lucky youngsters from the Boys and Girls Club and Keesler Air Force Base got a sneak peak.

"It's not everyday you get to see elephants right here and just seeing the looks on their faces, even the grown-ups. The grown-ups are, a lot of times, more excited than the kids are," says Dean Kelley, a circus clown for Ringling Brothers.

The event was called pachyderms, parades, and picnics. The kids paraded in with the elephants, Dean the Clown, and WLOX's own Meggan Gray. Then, they picnicked as the elephants had lunch, too. The youngsters quizzed the experts about these giant creatures that captured their curiosity.

"The kids, you know, they ask good questions. They're paying attention and they ask every question. Nothing was like a silly question. Well, sometimes you get silly questions," says Catherine Carden, a trainer for Ringling Brothers.

Of course, what's a circus without the silly?

"We're giving them cool stickers and clown noses. You can't go wrong with clown noses! You have to love the clown noses," says Kelley.

It was certainly a treat for the Podobinski family from Keesler. Their father is currently overseas serving our country.

"A lot of times, people don't realize that the military community kind of gets brushed under the rug, and to have someone come out and step forward for us. It means a lot! It really does," says Shara Podobinski, a mother from Keesler.

What could be more patriotic on the Fourth of July than cheering up this family? When we asked the kids what their favorite part of the event was, many of them answered that the elephants were their favorite because they got to watch them stomp on the watermelons before they ate them.

They would also like to say hello to their father who couldn't be with them this holiday weekend.

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum starting Thursday, July 4 and will be in town through Sunday, July 8.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.