SAVE THE CIRCUS!!

by July 7, 2008 • 2 comments

Well, I had heard that it wasn’t doing that great, but I didn’t know that it was possibly being shut down. What are they doing to be sure the local tourists know about this? Is our local TDC helping? Has the circus asked for help? I see their signs in all the windows, but are they providing enough information to draw people over to the circus? Are the show times even on the flyers?

If something isn’t doing good, it either isn’t being accepted or whoever is marketing it is not doing their job. I’m sorry to be critical at this sensitive time, but we’ve all been yelling for more stuff to do here and now one of the things we got is threatening to leave. Is everything being done to ensure its success?

Below is the press release put out by the Beaches Chamber:

Panama City Beach, July 7, 2008 – Last Thursday night I took my young son to the FSU Flying High Circus at Frank Brown Park. The show was incredible and we had a great time, but as I drove home a déjà-vu sensation hit me, and I remembered the last evening of the Miracle Strip Amusement Park – in late summer 2004. That was an enchanted evening, full of rides, laughter, people…but it was also sad. There was the sense of the passing of time…. nostalgic, sweet but heartrending. After that night it would close down forever. My own family, who has lived in PCB for-almost ever, was with me and introduced me to Buddy Wilkes that night. I couldn’t have known what he must have been feeling. I had only just moved here weeks earlier and had not yet acclimated to the culture, the community, or the multitude of childhood memories existing within the walls of that amusement park.


Driving home from the circus last Thursday night felt so similar, because the FSU Flying High Circus, Panama City Beach’s newest summer family attraction, has announced that it will be here only one more week…cut short from its August 2nd original finale. Attendance has not been high enough, and I was told the Big Top would be going down by Thursday or Friday, July 11th at the latest. I am completely devastated, and actually shocked. Why wouldn’t thousands of people want to experience this show while either vacationing – or staycationing – on their summer holiday?

This is not just any circus, as I discovered, this is a unique and very memorable show because of the choreography and storyline that go behind it, the obvious details that went into the production, and the sweetness and pure aspiration on the performers faces – all FSU college students. The night began with our ringmaster introducing the show, a retrospective celebration of the Flying High Circus’ 61 years of performances, and started off with a nostalgic 1940’s-style double trapeze and sky pole act. The performers donned outfits of 40’s circus glam, satin and pastels, swinging gracefully to the strains of Sinatra. That act quickly moved into the 50’s with a fantastic juggling act and a bee-bop dance style performance called Quartette Adagio, where one of the performers was a human jump rope. The sixties were celebrated with a trapeze and Roman rings act and Teeterboard performance that brought the see-saw to a whole new level.

We reeled through the decades, with incredible feats of athleticism choreographed to the hit music of the times. We stayed on the edge of our seats as the performances shifted from up high with various aerial acts to the floor, where performers amazed us with their agility and strength. When the final act of the evening ended, a flying trapeze performance that hinted to the incredible future of this great program, we took a few minutes to meet the performers and tell them how much we enjoyed the show. They were just as impressive in person as they were in the performance, talking to people, posing for pictures and seeming to truly enjoy every minute of it. These are the kind of kids you hope are our future.

The truth is, this community is so lucky to have had the chance to host this special attraction, and we should be honored that they chose Panama City Beach to be their summer home. Instead, this beautiful Big Top, which seats up to 2,100 guests per night, has gotten nightly visits from an average of 200 guests. There is only one thing any of us can do to possibly save the circus from leaving, and that is to go see the circus. It’s $15.00 for local adults, $10.00 for local kids, and free for children under 4. The circus’ location is the east end of Frank Brown Park, at N. Pier Park Drive right off of Panama City Beach Parkway. The FSU Flying High Circus will be performing at 7:00 nightly through Thursday, July 10th. For tickets or more information, call (866) 234-8895 or visit www.circusbythesea.com. Please, come see the show and help save the circus from leaving!

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1 Bryan Durta July 9, 2008 at 7:26 pm

I attended the circus with my family and thought it was a great family attraction for PCB. However, I believe the ticket prices were too high. And after taking a look at the Callaway Gardens web site, I am really confused about why the PCB tickets were so expensive.

The Flying High Circus is performing 6 days a week at Callaway Gardens from May 31 to August 8th this year. The performances are FREE with general admission to Callaway Gardens. General admission is only $13 for adults and $6.50 children.

Why did a regular price PCB circus ticket cost about twice as much as the cost of a full day visit to Callaway including the circus? Even the locals discounted tickets here were more expensive than Callaway admission.

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2 MJ July 13, 2008 at 1:18 pm

We took my daughter and her friend to the circus (dropped them off there and picked them up after the show–they are both 17) and they loved it. But I also think that the ticket prices are too high.

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