Saturday night, outside of the Minooka Community High School Central Campus, there were jugglers, magicians, face-painters and balloon animal artists showcasing their talents as children ran from station to station in awe of their surroundings.
“We love the circus and it’s always fun to see new things and tricks they can do,” said Melissa Newberry of Joliet. “I like that the kids can run around and do things and we don’t have to stand in line and pay for each event, this reminds me of a family block party.”
On Sept. 9, the Detroit Circus rolled into town, brought to Minooka by the Channahon Park District as one of its special events. This circus was unlike any others hosted by the district because it was more of an acrobatic show, rather than one with animals and high-wire stunts.
“We wanted to bring a different experience and we haven’t seen a circus like this in the community before. This gives the community something to do together,” said Nicole Vaira, Channahon Park District program manager.
Guests were invited to come to the school and revel in a pre-party from 4 to 6 p.m. where the front grounds were filled with children, parents and grandparents.
Food was available in the parking lot, and the children were free to get their faces painted by Painting Faces and Spaces. Grace Kochanek, 9, of Minooka, sat patiently as her artist painted blue over her eyes and forehead and added flowers and glitter. Little boys tended to go the superhero route with logos of the Hulk and Batman were painted across their foreheads.
“We came because it’s a local event and it sounded fun, we like the circus and the acrobatics,” Katrinka Kochanek said. “This is all very nice and we live just down the street and were able to walk here.”
In the grass area, Freezer’s Mobile DJ Service played tunes to get the participants in the mood and offered a large parachute for the kids to lift up and down and hide under. The younger ones hid under the parachute and giggled as it gently landed on their faces.
Gloria Book and Jonathan Sass of RCJuggle Entertainment gave children choices of balloon animals, swords or hats, and added a little comedy to the experience, as jugglers and magicians worked the crowd.
At 6 p.m., the audience filed into the gymnasium to prepare for the main event, the Detroit Circus with six performers, each with their own specialty. Performers included Joshua Wilde, Anthony Ortega-Link, Tom Joseph, Christopher Bogucki, Sara Duhaime, Brittany Webb and Sara Volanski.
Wilde opened with a comedic juggling act, which had the children in loud laughter as he tried to juggle one to two balls, juggle upside down, juggle several balls and even juggle and eat an apple at the same time.
The evening then was filled with contortionists, balance acts, acrobatics, aerialist dancers with silks, performers who weaved in and out of and hung on hoops, stilt walkers and much more.
“Our show is very audience-interactive and we had a lot of improv comedy-wise, our jokes are never the same,” Wilde said. “We have elements of Cirque de Soleil, same caliber but on a smaller scale. We offer high-end entertainment but a smaller venue.”