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Hannibal Circus Draws Hundreds to Benefit Student Trip to Costa Rica

An aerialist artist hangs above the crowd.

HANNIBAL, NY – Aerialists, dancing dogs, acrobats, unicycle artists galore and more!

Billy Martin’s Cole All Star Circus brought its fascinating fun to Fairley Elementary School in Hannibal Saturday (March 11) to dazzle and delight kids of all ages.

Organized by Hannibal Central School District’s adventure Costa Rica club, the event drew in twice as many attendees as last year.

Having pre-sold 200 adult tickets, roughly 80 more were sold at the door totaling $1400 raised to benefit the student’s trip to Costa Rica in 2018, double the amount of last year.

“It was beyond my wildest dreams, so successful,” said adventure club advisor and Spanish teacher at the middle school, Michele Gowans.

Adventure club students take a trip to a foreign country every other year, with the next visit to Costa Rica scheduled for April 2018 for all 35 students currently in the club.

The event brought delight to children throughout the community and raised money for the adventure with student’s fully involved in the process.

“Almost all of our students were here and have been so involved, participating in every way they can,” Gowans said.

The event is much of a win-win Gowans feels, as the club is able to raise money while also bringing such a fun opportunity to the community.

“The circus is really one of those rare opportunities for our small community. Most people aren’t going to travel very far for something like this so it’s great that we can bring this right to our community,” she said.

In return, the community has been more than helpful and receptive of their efforts, she continued, noting how much support the event has gained from the community and volunteers offering to help.

The Cole All-Star Circus was created in 1938 by James M. Cole to be used as a fundraising events for school groups and organizations throughout New York State.

Billy Martin has maintained the Cole All-Star Circus since Cole’s retirement in 1987, working on 79 years of offering an affordable family event that comes at low cost and low risk to host schools.

The act itself did not disappoint as hundreds of parents and kids young and old alike were left dazzled by amazing acts including the Bertini family of unicycle artists, the aerialist duo of Angela and Kim Sue, the one and only Slinko, Joanne Wilson and her dancing canine stars, a crowd participation comedy act, and special guest stars, the Incredible Imperial Chinese Acrobats performing balancing, contorting, and juggling acts.

“It was super captivating for my two-year-old, just as much for our nine-year-old. Our daughter was amazed with the aerialist acts and both kids loved the Slinko!” said Cierra Bolton.

Six-year-old Mason Shatraw’s favorite part was the balancing act, “when she held all those dishes on her head with no hands!” he exclaimed.

“This was our second year attending the circus and we were very impressed with the performance! We were expecting to see the same show as we saw last year, but most of the acts were new. All three of my children remained engaged the entire show, which is a big deal considering their ages of ten, six and two. We will definitely attend again next year!” said Sarah Murphy.

Event organizers and guests alike appeared to go home pleased.

“It was amazing, I’m very humbled by the turn out and the participation by our students, that’s what this is all about,” Gowans said.