Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It's The Greatest Show on Earth

I have only been to the circus once in my life. Over ten years ago when I was attending Belmont Church, my wife and I were part of a team administrating the Widows and Orphans Ministry, with its specific focus on understanding the challenges and meeting the needs of single parents and their children.

I remember that we wanted to to give the single moms a night off to themselves being pampered with hair styling and manicures while some college students and pastors treated about thirty kids to The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Municipal Auditorium here in Nashville.

One of the fascinations about the circus was seeing all of the activity under the three tents - horses, tigers, acrobats, clowns and yes, elephants. And I'll never forget the joy of the kids as they took in that evening as for each of them, they experienced the circus for the first time and forgot about their daddy being absent for an evening.

Today, kids and parents with fond memories of the circus were downtown awaiting the arrival of the circus coming to town.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus is expected to arrive by train late this morning downtown. At about 11:30 a.m., its animals will parade from the train yard, down Broadway, to the Gaylord Entertainment Center, where the circus will be performing Thursday through Sunday.

The “animal walk” will begin at Laurel Street and 11th Avenue South. The animals will continue up Laurel Street and turn right onto 12th Avenue South, then right onto Broadway. At 6th Avenue South they will turn right again to enter the Gaylord’s loading dock.

More than 70 domestic and exotic animals are featured in the circus’ performance. The menagerie includes 10 Asian elephants, two alpacas, two zedonks (a cross between a zebra and donkey), two Angora goats, 14 horses, 14 cats and 13 dogs.
- The Tennessean

Here's just a couple of photos of 150 that I took; I'll pick one out for the Photo of the Day 365 project and load the rest over at Flickr.

The circus has its critics; but I choose to remember the delight on the faces of those kids ten years ago - I too was in awe of the horses, tigers, acrobats, clowns and yes, elephants.


Ginger said...

What a wonderful thing you guys did for the single moms. We are an extremely neglected group in my church and it has caused major alienation...and I rarely go anymore because of that. When their women's ministry has services, they don't even have child care!!!!

Anway, I just wanted to express how much that touched me that you guys did that.

jag said...

That would have been SO MUCH FUN! I wish I could have seen all the animals.

Kerry Woo said...

Once the animal walk started, it didn't take but probably ten minutes to get from the staging area to Broadway @ the Exxon station. By then, I was gassed out from running to catch all the front side photos. I could never outrun an elephant; good to know if I'm ever chased by one!

Kerry Woo said...

Ginger, Belmont Church really excels at outreach (homeless and missions), taking care of its members and especially single moms and dads. They do quarterly Car Care Saturdays, assist with budgeting advice and pass no judgement, but love you through the process. Solid church with filled with loving people and much sensitivity and intentionality coupled with grace and mercy.