The annual arrival of the Zoppe Circus in Redwood City always creates a stir of excitement. For me personally it feels like my family has come to visit - I love when their beautiful big top is set up in Red Morton Park - just a stone's throw literally from my home.  We were pleased that so many of our business colleagues and their families were available to join us for an evening performance.  It was a wonderful show, run by my family friend Giovanni Zoppe, who also performs as Nino the clown.  

As we gathered outside the beautiful big top, the sword swallower swallowed a sword, or did he?  Then the musicians and performers led us inside.  The show started with Carla Zoppe's dog act, which is always a lot of fun.  Dressed up poodles walking on their hind legs never cease to disappoint! This year's show included a hair-hanging artist spinning through the air, a rola bola act, and a talented Chinese troupe whose acrobatic antics awed us all.  Tosca Zoppe closed the show with her bareback horse riding act - her last trick was jumping over fire.  Laughter was provided throughout by Nino the clown. He was flawless at interacting with the audience, doing breathtaking stunts and funny skits with the other performers. Unlike many clowns, Nino is a riot.

After the show we chatted with Giovanni and his family.  I admire him very much for continuing in his family’s circus tradition.  His grandfather's horse act was brought from Italy to the United States by my great-uncle John Ringling North in 1948.  Alberto Zoppe, not wanting to leave his family's circus in Italy without a star, agreed to come only in exchange for an elephant.  Uncle John, who at that time owned Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, agreed and arranged for an elephant to be sent to Italy.  And the rest is history!

We look forward to next year.  And we hope to see many of you at the show.  In the meantime please keep this in mind: "the circus never leaves town if you keep it in your heart".

*Click here for more stories about ZOPPÉ ITALIAN FAMILY CIRCUS




This summer I traveled to Granville, which is located on the eastern border of gorgeous and lush Washington County, New York. Also known as the "Colored Slate Capital of the World,” the town has quarries that mine slate in lots of colors such as green, gray black, purple, mottled green and purple, and red.

My father’s circus is always colorful and fun to see, and feels so intimate under the beautiful Big Top.  This season’s show includes seven tigers, a liberty act featuring three camels and three zebras, a beautiful single trapeze act, a Norwegian ventriloquist, a Mongolian contortionist.  If that isn’t exciting enough – one can’t help but be charmed by Anna Louise the dancing elephant! The show was set up on a grassy lot next to a school’s softball field and the weather was perfect.

This exciting live entertainment is mainly targeted towards families, but going to a Kelly Miller show awakens the child in all of us.   Check out the schedule on their website for upcoming dates and see you at the circus!

* Photography by Rick Purdue
* Here’s the link for more info!




My father, John Ringling North II, was interviewed recently – the YouTube link is below.  He talks about his early circus days when our family still owned Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and about the show he now owns – Kelly Miller Circus.  This video production captures my father so well.  I am so pleased that my parents bought this circus five years ago as they have never been happier. Our whole family is thoroughly enjoying this unique experience of being a part of a traditional circus in a mudshow venue.  Go Dad and Shirley!

John Ringling North II – interview




I am heading to my dad’s show (otherwise known as Kelly Miller Circus) this weekend with my husband.  The circus will journey by ferry to Kelleys Island, Ohio on Lake Erie for two days where we will join them accompanied by two dear family friends who were the Kelly Miller Circus Band for five seasons on the road.  It takes many ferry rides to get the precious circus cargo over and often the dock is lined with islanders cheering the arrival of elephants, tigers, clowns, aerialists, camels, a zebra, a mermaid, my parents and 72 excited people from the show.  The island is lovely, the reception very much appreciated and getting around on golf carts for a few days is a fun change of pace. 

Here are some wonderful photos of the 2012 Edition of the Kelly Miller Circus taken by Rick Purdue: