Three years ago when I found out that the circus was coming to Massillon, I got so excited I think my husband thought I had gone off my rocker. But this wasn’t just any circus coming to town. It was the Kelly Miller Circus.
As a child, each summer the Kelly Miller Circus visited the small village (pop. 1,002) in northwest Ohio where I grew up. I remember the excitement of the circus rolling into town, standing inside the big top as the elephants pulled it up, watching in amazement as the trapeze artist would swing to the top of the tent hanging by her ankles, laughing at the clowns and taking my first elephant and camel rides.
I bought tickets as soon as I could and I think I was more excited than the kids that first year. The best part was that the Kelly Miller Circus lived up to all of my memories from 20-odd years ago. Each year when I’ve taken them to see the tent being raised by the elephants, my daughter has been just as enthralled as I was with the trapeze artists. I’ve also taken them on their first elephant and camel rides, AND the clown that made me laugh, Herky, just happens to live in Massillon now and comes out to the show each year.
It’s amazing to be able to almost identically reproduce a wonderful childhood experience for your own children. Now, three years later, they’re asking me when the circus will be coming to town with excitement.
So, when and where can you experience the Kelly Miller Circus? This summer you’re in luck because you have the opportunity to see it in two different Stark County communities! My tip is to buy your tickets in advance, so that you can save $5 per adult and $1 per child child ticket.
On Tuesday, July 31, you can catch the circus in Hartville on the grounds of the Hartville MarketPlace. Shows will be at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available in advance at Clearwater Park, Hartville Hardware, Hartville MarketPlace and Lake Community Federal Credit Union. For more info on the Hartville performance, you can call 330.877.5500 or visit DiscoverHartville.com.
On Wednesday, Aug. 1, you can see the circus in Massillon on the grounds of the Massillon Knights of Columbus. Shows will be at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available in advance at the Massillon Museum and Massillon Knights of Columbus. For more info on the Massillon performance, you can call 330.837.9101.
To see the elephants raise the tent, show up to the circus grounds a little before 9 a.m. They start prepping and spreading the tent as early as 8 a.m.
There are also two events this week to get you in the circus mood. The Kelly Miller Circus clowns will be on the Massillon Museum’s front lawn from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17. Meet the clowns, enjoy their antics and then head inside the museum to view The Immel Circus, a 100-foot-square miniature circus hand-carved by the late Dr. Robert Immel of Massillon.
Then on Thursday, July 19, head to Hartville for their circus kick-off at Downtown Summer Nights from 6 to 8 p.m. Taking place in Hartville’s downtown historic district, the evening will include old-fashioned carnival games for children, crafts, food, live entertainment, business open houses, and more. The Hartville Lions will have their famous Chicken Barbecue too!
Hope to see you at the show! Maybe even at both sites if I can convince my husband!