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A Real Big Top Circus Plays Willimantic

Fireworks and Then Some in Manchester and Stafford, a Musical Blend in East Hartford and Tavern Night at Hale Homestead

Seems as if it's been a long time since the circus came to town.

Cole Bros. Circus, billed as the World's Largest Circus Under the Big Top, will put on two shows a night, Thursday and Friday, June 30 and July 1, at Jillson Square in Willimantic. Each night will run 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. performances.

Circus talent includes aerialists, acrobats, clowns and a seemingly impossible one-finger balancing act by equilibrist Svetlana Gololobova of Kazakhstan. Animal acts include Bengal tigers, camels, llamas, horses and poodles.

The circus boasts a Big Top that offers an unobstructed view. In January, President and CEO John Pugh was inducted unto the Circus Ring of Fame, which noted, “Few have done more to preserve the traditions of the traveling, 3-ring tented American circus,” the Cole Bros. Circus Web site reports.

Cole Bros. dates from 1884 and, their history says, once included a circus Who's Who of talent – wild animal trainer Clyde Beatty, classic sad clown Emmett Kelly, the Cristiani family bareback riders, the Great Wallendas and a youthful Burt Lancaster on the flying trapeze.

Tickets are $14 for ages 13 and older, reserved seating $17 and VIP seating $20. Upgrades are available for customers with “Free Child” coupons, which can be printed from the circus Web site or picked up in local stores. Children age 2 and younger are admitted free. Purchase tickets at tickets.com or call 888-332-5200. Or try getting them the day of the show. 

Holiday Fest at MCC

If your holiday won't be the same without live music, fireworks and barbecue, head over to the James Dutch Fogarty Independence Day Celebration at Manchester Community College on Saturday, July 2, anytime from 4 p.m. on. Skyline Drive will perform at 5 p.m., and Mohegan Sun All Stars go on at 7 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. Get $7 tickets for the annual Chicken BBQ (5-6:30 p.m.) at the Customer Service and Information Center in Town Hall, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. BBQ tickets will be $8 the day off. Everything else is free.

MCC is at 60 Bidwell St., Manchester. For more information, call 860-647-5235.

Stafford Does the Works

It may not be news that Stafford puts on a handsome fireworks show to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend, but they do more.

From noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 2, Summerfest 2011 will offer Americana to the max with three-legged sack races, a frog jumping contest, bands and all brand of entertainment on the high school grounds.

Entertainment will be provided by the Jeff Giglio Jazz Band, students of Studio 85, Zane Couch Band and Cold Train. And just when you've grown tired of water balloons and pie-eating contests, at about 9 p.m. the fireworks will start.

Rain date for the fireworks is Sunday, June 3.

Multi-Culti Concert in East Hartford

And now for something completely different.

The first concert in the summer Town Green series in East Hartford features the Afro-Semitic Experience, an unusual grouping of African-American and Jewish-American musicians dually committed to the music of Jewish culture and the African Diaspora. Steep yourself in both traditions Thursday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. on the green, 1047 Main St., East Hartford.

For information about the free concert, call 860-291-7160 or visit ehccc.com.

Friday Has Always Been Tavern Night

Even in Nathan Hale's day, it appears, Friday was the night to spend in the tavern. On Friday, July 1, you can enjoy a colonial dinner by candlelight and special tours of the Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry. The 6 and 8 p.m. tours will highlight 18th century tavern life. Cost is $20-25 and reservations are required. For information, call 860-742-6917 or visit ctlandmarks.org.

Korina Moss July 01, 2011 at 05:20 PM
I also do not understand the continued enchantment of circuses. I don't even have to watch those videos to know elephants, tigers, llamas, horses, etc. shouldn't be forced to do tricks. I have never taken my son to a circus nor will I ever. Surely people can find other ways for their children to be amused other than at the expense of those poor animals.

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