Big top going up early today

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 8, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; Camels, high-wire artists, even a unicycling, bagpiping clown &8212; either there&8217;s a circus in town or Vidalians didn&8217;t react to the gas outage nearly as well as advertised.

If you can&8217;t tell which after seeing the trapeze, High-Flying Perez Troupe and other feats of acrobatics &8212; and lots more animals &8212; come over and talk.

The show, presented by Culpepper and Merriweather Great Combined Circus Company doesn&8217;t start until 2 p.m., but fans can get a sneak peak when they raise the big top at 9 a.m. on the Riverfront.

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&8220;If you come out early, you can see the animals and get a free tour of the grounds,&8221; Vidalia Circus Director Glen McGlothin said.

Other performers include a troupe of unicycle performers, Miss Paulette and Her Feathered Friends as well as Miss Katrina, the hoola-hoop lady.

Tickets are available at the gate. Children aged 2-12 get in for $7.50. Everyone over 12 years costs $9.50.

There will be a second 90-minute show at 4:30 p.m.

Proceeds from the show will help the city offset the expense of December&8217;s Winter Wonderland of Lights and build a kitty for the coming season&8217;s holiday display, McGlothin said.

Culpepper and Merriweather has been touring since 1985. Now based in Hugo, Okla., the company has more than 40 employees, according to its Web site.