Gervais welcomes Culpepper & Meriweather Circus in May
The circus is coming to Gervais!
The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus will descend on Gervais Elementary School for one night on Thursday, May 23, hosting a pair of shows on the field behind the school.
The event is sponsored by the Gervais Community Progress Team, which is hosting the travelling show that tours throughout the western and midwestern United States, visiting more than 200 towns in 17 states during the course of the troupe's 32-week schedule.
Culpepper & Merriweather welcomes families of all ages and features a variety of acts from its group of performers that includes entertainers from the United States, Canada and Mexico.
The tented, one-ring circus boasts a wide range of acts, including big cats, trapeze, contortionists, horses, sword balancing, dogs, unicyclists, acrobats, comedy and balancing, clowns and more throughout each of its 90-minute shows.
The Oklahoma-based circus is visiting Gervais as part of its west coast tour, which takes it through California on its way up to Oregon, where they will host shows in Eagle Point, Glendale, Sutherlin and Cottage Grove before hitting Gervais.
The circus opens its event at each stop at 9:30 a.m., offering free tours of the circus grounds and inviting the public to watch the raising of the main tent that will host the evening show.
Guests will be able to meet the animals up close, learning about the routine and care taken for the circus' menagerie of lions, tigers, ponies and more, and will get to learn about the show's day-to-day operations during its tour.
That evening, guests are invited back an hour before the first show to enjoy a carnival on the grounds surrounding the main tent, including bouncy houses, pony rides and concessions at additional cost.
The main tent opens 20 minutes before each show for general admission. Tickets for the event can be purchased the day of the show at the box office, or earlier at select vendors in the community (see sidebar) at a discount. The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus is celebrating its 35th year of operation, beginning in 1985 as a three-man show hosted in Queen Creek, Arizona by proprietors Robert Johnson, Jim Hebert and Curtis Cainan.
The show relied on donations and concessions the first year, and gradually added employees, equipment and animals over the course of the ensuing decades.
In 2001, Johnson, Hebert and Cainan sold the show, which was moved to Hugo, Oklahoma — a circus hub that has hosted 20 different travelling shows since 1941.
Culpepper & Merriweather Circus
When: Thursday, May 23, 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Where: Behind Gervais Elementary School
Price: Pre-sale tickets are $7 for kids age 2-12 and seniors 65-years and older. Adults tickets are $12.
Tickets are available at Gervais High School, Gervais City Hall, Datavision Cooperative or by calling 503-888-8763
Tickets are $8 and $15, respectively, the day of the event.
Additional Information: An hour before the show, the circus grounds host bouncy houses, a 22-foot slide, pony rides, face painting and concession stands at additional cash cost.
Guests are invited to tour the circus grounds at 9:30 a.m. the day of the event to watch the tent raising and meet the animals.
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