Portsmouth’s very own circus, Cirque d’Art Theatre, is ready to welcome the community for a day of circus fun and enjoyment with the debut of its new event, the River Town Circus Carnival.
The carnival is the first of its kind and the group plans on making it an annual occurrence moving forward, which will allow them to showcase a wider array of talent, get the community involved, engage with guests, and show off vendors.
The event is being organized by Alisha Bobst. Bost is an alum of the circus program and now serves as an employee, where she has been since 2014. Her time at Cirque goes back to when she was 14 years old. She is currently studying at Shawnee State University while not working at Cirque d’Art. While at Cirque, Bobst focuses on preschool classes, costuming, and summer programming.
“This idea came from two of our other employees, Taylor and McKenzie, who thought a circus carnival would be good, because there are some things we cannot do at places like the Vern Riffe Center,” Bobst said. “We can’t do some of the aerial apparatuses there, such as swinging trapeze or the web, so we decided to do some in our studio, which has resulted in this show and carnival.”
Cirque says that outside of their swinging trapeze, spinning Spanish webs and that variety of entertainment, they will also be showcasing dance and be bringing back some of their most beloved acts.
“The whole point of the event is to get community engagement within the program. We’re pretty well known already, but we want more people involved,” Bobst explained. “The main purpose is that we want to attract the community to come to our program and build on what we already have in a fun way.”
During the carnival, there will be a plethora of games, inflatables, vendors, food and drinks, entertainment and prizes.
Most of the circus-related events and games will operate on a ticketing system. Tickets will be $1 each or 20 for $25. All kids ages 12 and under will get three free tickets.
According to Bobst, some of the games include a fish bowl game, sack toss, basketball, balloon pop, ring toss, and even try a trick. There will also be vendors, such as Whit’s, Jet’s Popcorn, and Muddy River Coffee.
Games will cost guests one ticket each, inflatables are three tickets for an unlimited time, footers and water will be three tickets, and the performance will be five tickets.
One of their most unique games will be Try a Trick, where kids will enter scaffolding with a trapeze bar with two professional spotters. They will learn simple tricks from instructors while playing. This way, children outside of the program can learn the fun of circus arts.
“It is important, because we engage kids of all different ages within the community. Some people believe we don’t have much for kids to do in the community, but we are a really big one that kids can come to once or twice a week and be with their peers and also get in some exercise,” Bobst claimed.
River Town Circus Carnival will be August 20 at 12 p.m. at 412 Chillicothe Street.