Load-Out, Jump, Load-In

The final bars of the vibrant finale music were just fading from the Big Top after the first shows in Greensboro on Sunday night, when the members of the Smirkus tent crew began the process known as “tear-down.” The sidewalls of the  Big Top came down: the first step in a long process of dismantling the tent and packing up everything to move to the next town — Essex, Vermont.

After the crowds left the grounds, “load-out” went into full swing. First, all of the novelties and food items from the two concessions tents were carefully packed into bins, road cases, and boxes; then, down went the concessions tents’ walls.  Next the shelves, tables, and decorations were removed which left an outline left in the ground where the tents had stood in the Midway mere hours before. When everything was packed up, the concessionaires and I loaded everything into a trailer to be moved the next  day during the “jump:” the move from one town (Greensboro) to another (Essex, VT).

Meanwhile, the same thing was happening to the backstage tent — costumes and props were packed, the tent dismantled. The crew continued to work on the Big Top.

Load-out was a pretty smooth process which continued into the next day. On Monday, the crew continued to pack. The pie car was still in operation, but after lunch, it was packed up and ready to go.  By 4  pm, the entire fleet — 23 vehicles, including the huge flatbed that carries the Big Top — hit the road and ended up at the Champlain Valley Expo Center to set up for tomorrow’s show. Meanwhile, back in Greensboro, the slight imprint of the tents in the grass in the field was all that was left of our circus.

Because of our schedule, this was an uncharacteristically leisurely load out; we had two days between our opening shows on Sunday, July 3rd and the beginning of our six Essex shows on Wednesday, the 6th. This process usually happens with just one day in between shows.  Hard to imagine unless you see it!  And I’ll be seeing it on our next jump, on July  9th, for shows in Plattsburgh, NY, July 10th & 11th.

I am currently surrounded by the tent crew pounding stakes for the Big Top and  the dining area.  So it begins — life traveling with a circus!

Hope to see you in Essex! Six shows, tomorrow through Friday. Just as for our opening, we’ve already got some sold-out shows here!

Tour Communications Intern

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