Yuba, Ca: Hello everybody! Circus Imagination made the front page of the Appeal-Democrat! Read the story below or click on the newspaper logo to see it on their website!

Pictures by David Bitton

Lillian Baker, 8, left, of Tierra Buena, prepares to walk the tightrope while being introduced by ringmaster Caton Raintree-Hegwer during a Circus Imagination performance at the Yuba-Sutter Fair in Yuba City on Thursday. 


David Bitton/Appeal-Democrat 

Kelly Hurlbert, 7, of Live Oak, reacts while catching a flying monkey during a Circus Imagination performance at the Yuba-Sutter Fair in Yuba City on Thursday. 

Children are the entertainment at the fair

Comments 6

August 05, 2011 03:47:00 PM

By Ashley Gebb/Appeal-Democrat

They never expected to be part of the show.

A dozen Yuba-Sutter children did not have the slightest idea their night at the fair would cast them into roles of lion tamer, tightrope walker and human cannonball, but there they were, jumping through rings of fire and launching monkeys into the air. It was just another routine performance of midway show Circus Imagination, but a stage debut for most of the kids.

“I’ve been to the circus, but I’ve never been in one before,” said 7-year-old Kelly Hulbert. “It was really funny.”

In the role of one of two Champagne Sisters, the Live Oak resident giggled Thursday as she held out a bucket to catch stuffed primates catapulted skyward by her companion and said she likes using her imagination.

“You can learn cool stuff,” Kelly said.

Ringmaster Caton Raintree-Hegwer said his goal is to bring old-fashioned fun back to the fair.

“We love using kids as stars rather than props,” he said. “A lot of entertainment is, ‘Sit. Be. Watch. Be Entertained.’ Here, they are the entertainment.”

As other children rode the rides, played games and wandered the midway, these children were envisioning themselves playing with elephants, shooting out of cannons or as becoming ballerina monkeys. Parents, friends and family members were unrestrained in oohing and aahing and offering up thunderous applause.

“This kid has the best imagination,” said Tierra Buena resident Teya Baker, whose daughter jumped enthusiastically into her role as Tina the Tightrope Walker, reaching her arms high above her head one after another as she pretended to climb a 100-foot ladder.

“I add new things to my imagination a lot,” said Lillian Baker, 8. “I think I want to do this at home. I could use my dog as a dingo.”

As a member of Franklin 4-H, Lillian has spent all week at the fair showing her pygmy goat, chicken, dog and rabbit. But in the her three days left, she might consider a return to Circus Imagination to try her hand as Calamity Oakley Cowgirl or Marco the Lion Tamer since she had so much fun picturing herself tottering across a tightrope.

“I was just laughing,” she said.

In a society where children are so inundated with technology, they seldom take time to play outside or embrace their creativity, Raintree-Hegwer said. So he loves seeing his circus unlock the treasure chest of imagination buried inside their minds.

“I have so many kids come back the next day and say, ‘I told all my friends that I was a human cannonball at the fair,'” he said. “Where else can you do that?”

Yuba City resident Charlie Robinson, 8, loved his role as a lion, baring his claws, playing dead and jumping through a flaming hoop, even if it was only made of rustling red and silver tinsel.

“You can use your imagination to do anything,” he said. “It’s better than playing video games or watching TV or playing on your iPhone.”

Circus Imagination holds numerous free shows throughout the day and can be found between the Flower House and the Food Court.

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