Hundreds of people who love the circus will converge on northeast Iowa next month for the annual convention of the Circus Fans Association of America. Peter Wagner, of Sheldon, is organizing the gathering. Wagner says Dubuque was selected to host this convention, in part, due to its central location.
“McGregor, Iowa, is the birthplace of the Ringling Brothers,” Wagner says. “Clinton, Iowa, is the birthplace of Felix Adler who for 50-some years was the most famous white-faced clown with Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. You have Cascade which is called the City that Saved the Circus.”
Wagner says there are some 4,000 members in the Circus Fans Association.
He says, “It’s made up mostly of folks who just like to go to the circus or who are involved in following the logistics, the movement of the circus, or the management of the circus or the promotion of the circus.” The event will run September 17th through the 21st, using Dubuque as the home base but making several field trips over the five days.
“The convention kicks off on the night of the 17th with a band concert by the Karl King Community Band from Fort Dodge,” Wagner says. “Karl King started his career playing in circus bands and was once the band leader for the Barnum and Bailey Circus before he settled in Fort Dodge as their band director.” King wrote more than 200 circus marches during his time in Fort Dodge.
During the convention, there will also be a road trip to Clinton to visit a large display of circus memorabilia being assembled just for this group. The event wraps up with a trip to the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Learn more at: www.circusfans.org
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City