ALPENA - Ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages: the circus is coming to town.
The Piccadilly Circus will be commandeering the Northern Lights Arena for a pair of performances on April 23 in what Northern Lights Arena Manager Denny Dacey describes as an event which features something for everyone to enjoy.
The Piccadilly Circus shares the same producers as the world famous Ice Capades shows and will feature acrobats, stuntmen, animals and, of course, clowns. Dacey said this year's event will be much different than last year and offer thrills and laughs for those witnessing the action.
"This year we are going to have live animals, which wasn't the case last year," Dacey said. "This will be full-blown circus with elephants, white tigers, monkeys and more. There is even some sheep dogs, and from what I understand, one of them drives a car; how they do that, I don't know."
There will be a petting zoo set up for people to interact with some of the animals, as well as a "My Little Poney" parade and monkey fun area. Dacey said there will also be stuntmen performing on motorcycles and clowns.
"There will be a kid's area set up, and there will be the usual silliness from the clowns," Dacey said. "There will be a lot of things for the kids to do, and for the adults as well."
Dacey said tickets are available throughout the area, and many were distributed to the children at school.
"There are free tickets for kids 13 and under at many places around town," Dacey said. "We sent some to the schools to send home in folders, but if someone didn't get one, they can stop by the arena and we have some here. There are two shows, and the children's tickets are good for either one."
Piccadilly is touring the United States and according to Dacey is set up during the early morning hours of the day and gone before the sun rises the following day.
"They will arrive around midnight the day of the show, set up and have the two shows," Dacey said. "Once the shows are done the clean-up begins and things are tore down and they should be out by midnight again, so they are only in town for 24 hours."
There will be no shortage of snacks and beverages at the show, Dacey said.
"The circus will have the typical circus-type food with cotton candy, snow cones and popcorn. I'm quite sure they will have souvenir stands set up as well," he said. "We will have both of our concession stands open as well, so people should have a lot of variety to choose from in terms of food and drinks."
Dacey said the circus rented the facility and will keep most of the proceeds associated with it. He said the arena will receive 10 percent of the gate revenue, but that was enough after figuring in the rental fee and concession money the arena will make.
"We get our concession and will also get $1 from each ticket that is purchased," Dacey said. "That way we can still meet the surcharge agreement with the county. It is a win-win for the circus and for us, and I expect there will be a good turnout and that everyone will have a good time."
The circus is only one of several events that are scheduled to take place in the near future. Today a camper and boat show kicks off, and a home builder's show will follow soon after. Dacey said dirt will begin being spread for the annual rodeo, which takes place the weekend of Mother's Day, next week.
For more information on the circus or other planned events, contact the Northern Lights Arena at 356-1878.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.