Fun in the Sun!

Happy Tutu Tuesday!

Yesterday the campers kicked off the second week by planning their acts for the Session II Showcase! These kids have been working incredibly hard and we are so looking forward to sharing their progress with friends, parents and family on Friday. From clowning to pyramids, to Spanish web routines, and diabolo, you are in for a real treat as campers will show off their acts in Mama Mia! The first week everyone spent time developing new skills, building on foundations and brainstorming their final performance but now the focus is (almost) entirely on creating those acts. Parents, be sure to bring a camera to capture the magic!

Campers will perform their acts on Friday in Mama Mia!

Campers will perform their acts on Friday in Mama Mia!

However, since this is Smirkus Camp and there’s always time to play and have fun, the campers aren’t thinking about their acts 100% of the time. Especially in this insane hot Vermontian heatwave – we can barely handle the low 80’s over here! There’s only one way to cool off and relax in this hot July weather… SPRINKLERS AND WATER GUNS! Check out the hilarity that ensued yesterday on the Brown (aka the Green between the dorms Marcaeu and Chaplin) while kids filled up baby pools and left no bucket of water unturned upon a counselor’s head. There’s more to see on the Flickr account!

Campers reading on Chaplin's front porchIMG_4449Smirkus Counselor Ezra is keeping kids coolReady for action!

All the best!

Hannah

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Sunshine

Dear Smirkus Friends and Family,

After a rainy day of set-up upon our arrival to Saratoga Springs, NY, Sunday, July 4, 2015, we have basked in beautiful sunshine for our two days of shows. The Tent Crew worked tirelessly to set up the lot and per usual everyone pitched in to make the magic happen for our second jump (what we call moving from one tent site to the next). Our presenting organization, the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs, have been so welcoming and even provided pizza for the crew after our final show! The crew and I would like to send a special thank you to the wonderful volunteers and the restaurant they partnered with, Esperanto.

The ticket booth outside of Millie at the Saratoga Springs Raceway and Casino.

The ticket booth outside of Millie at the Saratoga Springs Raceway and Casino.

Thank you to the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs for bringing us to town!

Thank you to the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs for bringing us to town!

Our first day of shows were filled with so many touching moments and excitement; we have really felt the warmth and love from the city of Saratoga Springs! Furthermore, with Hometown Hero, Trouper Keenan Wright-Sanson on tour with us it is an extra special stop.

Saratoga Springs hometown hero Keenan Wright-Sanson.

Saratoga Springs hometown hero Keenan Wright-Sanson.

Saratoga Springs hometown hero Keenan Wright-Sanson.

Saratoga Springs hometown hero Keenan Wright-Sanson.

Saratoga Springs hometown hero Keenan Wright-Sanson (front left).

Saratoga Springs hometown hero Keenan Wright-Sanson (front left).

Saratoga Springs hometown hero Keenan Wright-Sanson (Bottom).

Saratoga Springs hometown hero Keenan Wright-Sanson (Bottom).

There are so many amazing things about being a part of Circus Smirkus, Tour in particular, and one that never gets old is witnessing the magic Smirkus brings to each and every person who attends. It is contagious and electric.

A fairy princess clown spreading some Smirkus spirit as patrons wait to enter the Big Top, July 5, 2015.

A fairy princess clown spreading some Smirkus spirit as patrons wait to enter the Big Top, July 5, 2015.

But it isn’t just the magic we bring to each town it is also the importance of family Smirkus holds dear. Yesterday we had Trouper parents, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, homestay families and other nonprofits, like the Make a Wish foundation in attendance. In the circus, it is tradition to get a pie in the face if is your birthday, which is a circus term of endearment. Last night, we were lucky enough to help Trouper Sam Ferlo’s brother, Sebastian Ferlo, celebrate his 20th birthday! He was pied in the face by a very special friend from Make a wish, Nolan Jaycox.

Artistic Director Troy Wunderle introducing a very special guest into the ring, Nolan Jaycox from the make a wish foundation.

Artistic Director Troy Wunderle introducing a very special guest into the ring, Nolan Jaycox from the make a wish foundation.

Our special friend from the Make a Wish Foundation, Nolan Jaycox throwing the first pie in celebration of Sebastian Ferlo's 20th birthday.

Our special friend from the Make a Wish Foundation, Nolan Jaycox throwing the first pie in celebration of Sebastian Ferlo’s 20th birthday.

Our special friend from the Make a Wish Foundation, Nolan Jaycox throwing the first pie in celebration of Sebastian Ferlo's 20th birthday.

Our special friend from the Make a Wish Foundation, Nolan Jaycox throwing the first pie in celebration of Sebastian Ferlo’s 20th birthday.

Sam Ferlo throws the final pie for his brother's 20th birthday.

Sam Ferlo throws the final pie for his brother’s 20th birthday.

Aftermath of Sebastian Ferlo getting pied for his 20th birthday.

Aftermath of Sebastian Ferlo getting pied for his 20th birthday.

We have our final show tonight at 7PM, so grab a ticket at the booth or online here before we tear down and bid a fond farewell to Saratoga Springs and head to St. Johnsbury, VT.

Till next time,

Angelia

If I had a tale that I could tell you

I’d tell a tale sure to make you smile

If I had a wish that I could wish for you

I’d make a wish for sunshine all the while

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy

  • John Denver
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Happy Fourth of July!

A Patriotic Clown

The whole town of Greensboro and all of Smirkus Camp celebrated by marching down past The Willey’s Store to the Town Hall in the Greensboro Funky Fourth of July parade. Leading the Smirkus Camp jugglers, hula hoopers, diabolo-twirlers, and kazoo-players atop the backseat of longtime Greensboro resident Clive Gray’s 1930 Pierce-Arrow convertible were three stars of Greensboro: our red-nosed Circus Smirkus founder Rob Mermin, Junior Salls and Mark Lichtenstein. It is truly amazing the magic that one person with a dream can build. Over the past 28 years that dream lit a spark in people’s hearts, and the dream grew – from expanding the tour, the Residency Program, and establishing permanent stomping grounds for Smirkus Camp, this community of change-makers began as a simple “What if…” in Rob Mermin’s mind.

As we celebrate Independence Day, we aren’t really celebrating a day in history – we are celebrating the people that make it happen. Those crazy dreamers across the country, like Rob, who had an idea and worked hard to make it happen. Now that is worth celebrating!

From Smirkus Camp’s Funky Fourth bonfire, to your fireworks-watching with family and friends, we hope you had a Happy Independence Day!

All the best,

Hannah

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Sunset in the NEK

Double rainbows, the Northern Lights, mist through the mountains, beautiful rain showers and incredible sunsets are just a daily part of life at Smirkus Camp. In our fast paced lives, we are truly thankful to be able to appreciate the natural world everyday. Yesterday the sunset painted the clouds above the mountain a pastel sorbet… I wanted to take a huge bite but instead I set up the GoPro and captured a time lapse of the waning daylight. Take a look and enjoy!

Another beautiful sunset over Smirkus Camp!

A video posted by Circus Smirkus (@circussmirkus) on

All the best,

Hannah

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Tutu Tuesday!

Hey! Let me ask you something…I know you are probably having a really fantastic Tuesday. I know your Tuesday is top notch. But what does your Tuesday not have? Is the answer a tutu? Yes? Then read more to find out about how your very own tutu will enhance every aspect of your Tuesday schedule! IMG_2758 Scientists everywhere agree that tutus are a critical component to living a full, productive and FUN Tuesday. Why have a normal Tuesday when you can have a Tutu Tuesday?! What are the benefits of a tutu on Tuesday? Find out below! Tutus are extraordinarily beneficial in a variety of circus and everyday activities. The renowned mystical properties of the tutu have been experienced by Smirkus Campers for the past 25 years.

Our campers use the magical balancing properties of the tutu to hold a handstand in acrobatics class. IMG_2788 Camp Director Bill Merrylees uses his tutu to give him super speed powers on his bike!  IMG_2701 Whether dancing or striking a pose, tutus are the magic touch you need! IMG_2753 Going for a run? Well, let me tell you about how a tutu will keep you hydrated and strong during your morning run! IMG_2684 At Clown Alley? There’s nothing like adding a tutu to your clowning class!IMG_2856 Tutu Tuesday We take juggling class very seriously here and tutus are required every Tuesday to maximize focus and coordination. IMG_2894IMG_2893 Tuesday only comes once a week so don’t delay and put on your tutu today! Alright well, a tutu may not give you superpowers (and handstands only happen with practice) but at Smirkus Camp we love Tutu Tuesday and all the goofy joy it brings! Remember to see the Flickr page for even more Tutu Tuesday shenanigans!

All the best,

Hannah

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Goodbye Greensboro, Hello Essex Junction

Dear Smirkus Friends and Family,

What an exciting weekend and start to a week! Sunday, June 28, we opened our 2015 Big Top Tour, Bon Appétit! with a bang and a packed house. The hard work Troupers, Coaches, Directors and support staff put in during rehearsals really shined through and what an extravaganza of wonder and whimsy the entire day was! I could go on and on, but instead here are my favorite shots from the show! I hope this little taste has you hungry for more when Bon Appétit! comes to a town near you!

2015OpeningDay 2015OpeningDay18                   2015OpeningDay21 2015OpeningDay27                        2015OpeningDay33 2015OpeningDay44                 2015OpeningDay46 2015OpeningDay72

As it is my first time traveling with a circus, I have learned and discovered so many things about circus-life and more specifically Smirkus-life. The first is that this is the most passionate and hardworking group of individuals I have ever encountered in my entire life. If you have ever had the blessing of being a part of this team then you know what I mean and if not, I shall elaborate.

Pie Car Cook, Maddie Pryor and Production Intern Jenna Raithel during setup June 29, 2015.

Pie Car Cook, Maddie Pryor and Production Intern Jenna Raithel during setup June 29, 2015.

After the last show we have in any given tent site, and even before the finale has danced its way into your hearts or the last round of applause has been clapped, we begin what is know as “tear-down.” It can take anywhere from 6 to 2.5 (record time) hours and sometimes it will fall into the wee hours of the morning. It is a time where everyone chips in and gets ready to haul out to our next site and do it all over again. The next morning we run around, finish packing everything and batoning the hatches, then hit the road. Sometimes we drive two hours and sometimes six hours, but no matter how long it takes as soon as we get there we set up as soon as we arrive.

Circus Smirkus Chapiteau going up in Essex Junction, VT.

Circus Smirkus Chapiteau going up in Essex Junction, VT.

Yesterday, June 29, when we arrived in Essex Junction, VT, for our July 1-3 shows at the Champlain Valley Expo it took approximately 11 hours to set up Millie (Concessions Tent), the Chapiteau (Big Top Tent), Helvetas (Backstage Tent), the Pie Car, Dining Area, Bunk Houses, get power, get water and set up generators. Not to mention set up lights, sound, and the bandstand for tomorrow’s show…which has spilled into today as well!

Concessions is ready to serve you July 1-3, at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction, VT.

Concessions is ready to serve you July 1-3, at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction, VT.

Members of our concessions team, Hannah Herrod and Kevin Hovanic unloading the truck to set up Millie (concessions tent).

Members of our concessions team, Hannah Herrod and Kevin Hovanic unloading the truck to set up Millie (concessions tent).

Our veteran Tent Boss, Nat Brown, ensures we safely get the tents up with a crew of roustabouts that have a range of experience from years to a week and under his tutelage they are well on their way to being seasoned professionals. Furthermore, Ben Scheff, our Technical Director has worked around the clock to make sure we have all the bells and whistles (literally) during our performances.

Tent Boss, Nat Brown doling out sage advice on top of our Big Top.

Tent Boss, Nat Brown doling out sage advice on top of our Big Top.

Production Manager, Ben Scheff literally "hooking us up."

Tech Director, Ben Scheff literally “hooking us up.”

Members of our production team Jenna Raithel (ground), Jason Ekenroth (middle) and LeeAnne Brown (top) setting up lighting and sound equipment.

Members of our production team Jenna Raithel (ground), Jason Ekenroth (middle) and LeeAnne Brown (top) setting up lighting and sound equipment.

The work may be hard, but it is so fulfilling and worth it to bring this show to fruition. Not to mention I am learning so many cool and new things! So far, I have helped tear down tents, bleachers, rigging, and production, plus I helped put up a (very small) tent and the best part…I got to use a sledgehammer to put enormous tent stakes into the ground! I don’t know if I am ready to join our industrious and tireless tent crew, but there is always next year.

Our beautiful Pie Car that delivers healthy and delicious meals three times a day.

Our beautiful Pie Car that delivers healthy and delicious meals three times a day.

We did it!  The Big Top is up and awaiting your arrival in Essex Junction for our July 1-3 shows at the Champlain Valley Expo.

We did it! The Big Top is up and awaiting your arrival in Essex Junction for our July 1-3 shows at the Champlain Valley Expo.

We did it!  The Big Top is up and awaiting your arrival in Essex Junction for our July 1-3 shows at the Champlain Valley Expo.

We did it! The Big Top is up and awaiting your arrival in Essex Junction for our July 1-3 shows at the Champlain Valley Expo.

Until Next Time,

Angelia

My first tent!

My first tent!

You say yes, I say no

You say stop and I say go go go, oh no

You say goodbye and I say hello

Hello hello

  • The Beatles
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Magic is on the way…

Session II of Smirkus Camp is underway! A Smirkus week flies by so fast, which is why we love these two-week sessions. Over the next 14 days we will really get to know the campers who arrived yesterday; we will become little family units, working together and even celebrating a holiday together, the FUNKY FOURTH! This summer staff and campers are so excited to march in the Greensboro 4th of July Parade, complete with silly costumes, hula hoops, some juggling and a lot of clowning around!

We are very happy to see new and old faces who have come to spend this special summer with us. Not even an occasional rain shower can dampen our spirits, especially when it results in a double rainbow over our beautiful tents (this photo is NOT photoshopped! This is real life!)

A double rainbow over our Smirkus tents, captured by Danny

A double rainbow over our Smirkus tents, captured by Danny “In the right place at the right time” Frank

To everyone who follows this blog: a big thank you for checking in daily and staying up to date on the latest Smirkus Camp happenings. Last week was an unusual one because I flew out of town to help my family welcome a new baby into the world! A million thank yous to everyone for your patience while I got the chance to meet my new family member.

Now that I am back in Vermont, I am excited and ready for camp to get underway!

Legend has it that a double rainbow symbolizes that magic is on the way, that we have an opportunity to work hard for our dreams and be true to ourselves. So welcome Session II Campers, let’s make some Smirkus magic!

For last week’s session and all Smirkus Camp sessions to come, please be sure to visit our Flickr page by clicking the link in the menu above, pictured here for your reference!

All the best,
Hannah

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