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Clowning around at the library

Posted: March 7, 2014 12:33 p.m.
Updated: March 10, 2014 5:00 a.m.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is scheduled to roll into South Carolina at the end of March, but several local children got to see a small preview of the fun Wednesday at the Kershaw County Library. “Gigi” the clown appeared at the library and read the children a book about the circus, showed them how to juggle and spin a plate on a stick, and performed a magic trick.

The circus will be in Columbia for four days beginning March 27. Gigi, who declined to give her real name, said the theme of the shows is “LEGENDS” and will include the usual circus attractions, plus “mysterious creatures of the past such as a unicorn, Pegasus flying horse and woolly mammoth.

“We had a great group of children here today who were so inquisitive about everything I did for them and with them. I taught them some juggling, we did some magic and some clowning and they all had questions,” she said after her presentation. “I told them it’s like our new show, LEGENDS: believe in the unbelievable. It was so great meeting with the kids here in Camden. This is the best show I have ever been involved with.”

Gigi said she performed full-time with the circus, which calls Sarasota, Fla., home, for nine years. She now lives in Orlando and travels the country doing promotional events like the one at the library.

“I know Ringling so well. It was my home for nine years. I traveled and lived on the circus train. It’s something I know and love,” she said.

She said families who arrive at the Columbia shows an hour before show time will be invited to the arena floor to get a close-up look at the circus performers and animals.

“You get to meet a clown, you get to meet an elephant right up close. There’s nothing like it,” Gigi said. “We have eight shows in Columbia.”

Gigi praised the children for their curiosity and told them where to find more information about clowning and the circus.

“I told them if they have any more questions, just read a book about it,” she said. “Magic, juggling, the circus, it’s all right here at the library.”

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