Armstrong County families showed up yesterday to the one-day circus performance in the parking lot of the West Kittanning Fire Hall.
The show featured acrobatic feats, mystifying juggling acts, several animal acts, and slapstick comedy that brought cheers from young and old alike.
Lewis and Clark Circus Ringmaster Larry Rundle is from eastern New York and has performed full-time for about 20 years.
“When I was in college, I started messing around with some friends juggling. I never thought much of it – I just did it for fun,” Rundle said. “When I left school, I got a call from a fellow classmate who told me about a clown course at the local community college in my hometown. Through that, we met some other people who know someone who was looking for a juggler. I started out as a street performer working for tips. I ended up doing really well after a couple of years. My career then took off from there.”
Rundle said the South Carolina big top is best suited for local venues.
“We look for communities with families to find ideal places to perform. We enjoy performing in smaller communities.”
Since the bigger circuses have ceased operation, Rundle said there is a demand for circuses such as Lewis and Clark.
“It is your traditional tent-style circus. We have jugglers, clowns, aerialists suspended from the tent, and a variety of different circus artists. We have a goat act, an equestrian act, and a camel act, which is quite funny. We feature a little bit of everything.”
The circus offered two performances yesterday. Then the tent was dismantled and packed in large trucks. The performers also assist with concessions and travel preparations.
“We are really a big circus family and travel together,” Rundle added.