Saturday, August 31, 2013

In my opinion. . . .

          I don't try to voice my opinion very often rather, I prefer to share our circus history for all to enjoy. Sadly, the announcement of the Feld organization wanting to have their wagons and artifacts returned that have been on loan to the Circus World Museum since the mid 1980s has brought out lots of resentment by some and even bad information by others. I just read today where someone was under the impression that many of the wagons at CWM were on loan. NOT TRUE! Yes, the Two Hemispheres Bandwagon is owned privately by John Zweifel but everything else at CWM is there to stay once these six wagons leave.
         In my opinion, I see this as a good thing. There's is not doubt in my mind that the Feld organization will take as good as care as possible of these fine examples of the circuses before them. In fact, I imagine, they'll all be spruced up and put in tip top shape again in Florida for the magnificent display they have planned. Yes, the costumes and floats from the Chinese based spec display will all be coming out of the Feld Building. Quite Frankly, YEAH! I love Circus World Museum as much as anyone else does. I don't get to go every year but when I do get to go ( 6 times in the last 10 years ) I've seen the same exact exhibit of RBBB Costumes and floats. Actually, the display has been there for nearly 20+ years.
         With the Feld artifacts being removed, the Circus World Museum now has a golden opportunity to display some of their amazing artifacts that they never had a place for in the last 30 years. Just imagine some of the great Circus Parade wardrobe on display, old time circus side show banners, props, or other wagons being highlighted? The Possibilities are endless. The Cinderella float was splendid in the ring with miniature spotlights on it at the Cincinnati Art Museum display of the Amazing Circus Poster Exhibit. Imagine that on a slowly revolving turntable. Ah, yes, the possibilities are endless.
         Having the hugely successful gala in the Feld Building has been mentioned as a terrific idea with great possibilities. It's already air conditioned for one. What would you be more excited about? Going to see the same thing again and again and again or going to see something entirely new and different? That's just MY opinion. I'm sure everyone has one.

         Here's looking forward to a bright future for our beloved Circus World Museum.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

End of Season Bash in Baraboo!

Come to the Big Show -
End of the Season Social at Baraboo
All CWM, Inc. Members and all friends of Circus World are invited to join in an
End of the Season Social in Baraboo....

All circus enthusiast are invited to Gem City Saloon, on the corner of Water Street and Ash Street at the four way Stop just West of Circus World.
Time is 6:00PM on Saturday August 31st, it is Dutch Treat and they offer anything from beverages to Great Pizza to Sandwiches.
So come join us after the last Saturday Show at CWM just down the block for great conversation and reuniting with old and new friends.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Special showing TONIGHT!

Make your travel plans to the Asolo theater at the Ringling Museums tonight for a very special showing of "the Greatest Show on Earth" featuring Jackie LeClaire, Mary Jane Miller and LaNorma Fox all live, on stage beginning at 6:30 PM. BE THERE!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

The Great Circus Train by Bruce Nelson

America's Greatest Circus Train, a 208-page hardbound, is authored by Bruce Nelson, a career transportation professional and historian. This all-color 10” x10” book brings back the days when the colorful Circus Train ran from the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, through both Wisconsin and Illinois, delighting thousands of spectators. The new book features 335 mostly color photographs and illustrations, and has been in development for more than 10 years.

In text and photographs the book captures the color and excitement of the Circus Train, how it originated, its passengers, contents, loading and unloading of wagons, rail routes and planning, and finally how it faded away. “Railfans, circus enthusiasts, former spectators at the Circus Parades and children of all ages will appreciate the detailed documentation this volume presents,” says Don Heimburger, publisher.

The steam- and diesel-operated Circus Train was the source of the historic circus wagons used in the Milwaukee and Chicago circus parades that drew millions of spectators between 1965 and 2003. Over the years, the train consisted of up to 29 vintage cars carrying hundreds of guests and almost 90 historic horse-drawn wagons. Pulled at times by restored steam locomotives and at others by the most modern of diesels, the train operated over six different railroads using eight primary routes covering hundreds of miles per year. People in towns and cities all along the train's route anticipated the annual event. The Circus Parade was once the highlight of the summer season in Milwaukee, capturing the imagination of adults and children throughout the surrounding states and the world.

Like the days of yesteryear, when a number of carnivals and circuses moved across the country by rail, the Museum's Circus Train presented an image of the past, thrilling crowds wherever it went. The Circus Parade—and later the train—began when a major sponsor, the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company of Milwaukee, agreed to underwrite them.

In 1962 the Museum staged a modest street parade in Baraboo to gauge public reaction, and the response exceeded expectations. With the Museum and the Schlitz Brewing Company working together, the first parade in Milwaukee was held on July 4, 1963.  Over the years, the two-hour-long parade saw as many as 125 parade units comprised of 2,000 costumed participants, 1,000 musicians, 700 horses, 100 clowns and dozens of vintage circus wagons over a three-mile route.

The Circus Train first appeared with its vintage cars in 1965, and ran until 2003, with several lapses. During the years, the train was routed over several railroads in Illinois and Wisconsin, including the Milwaukee Road, the Chicago & North Western, the Wisconsin Central, the Canadian Pacific, the Canadian National and the Wisconsin & Southern. “The trips required an inordinate amount of planning by the Museum and the railroads,” says author Nelson, including running time, stops and viewing locations, meeting schedules, obtaining water for the steam-operated runs, and care of the wagons and animals.

“The Circus Train ran because its proponents refused to take ‘no’ for an answer and persevered despite seemingly insurmountable odds,” continues Nelson.

The new book contains a Foreword by Fred Dahlinger Jr., one-time director of the Robert L. Parkinson Library and the Research Center at the Circus World Museum, and a well-known circus historian. Dahlinger is now curator of circus history at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Florida.

The Circus World Museum, operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society, began in 1959 to collect, preserve and present circus history. Today the museum owns the foremost collection of large circus and carnival pieces in the United States, including wagons, railcars and memorabilia. It also owns the former Ringling Bros. Circus railroad car shops in Baraboo.

America's Greatest Circus Train

  • Hardcover, 208 pages, 10 x 10 in.
  • Illustrations: 335
  • Item Number: 214273
  • EAN (ISBN-13): 978-0911581645
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2013
  • Publisher: Heimburger House Publishing Company