The American Experience, a series produced by PBS and aired nationally—popular programs include “The Amish,” “JFK”,“D-Day” and “Riding the Rails” (and many more)—is developing a show featuring the American Circus.
Last week I spent an hour with the circus show’s producer talking about the Ringling Brothers and their famous circus that had its roots in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The Ringling brothers, there were five of them who worked as partners, got their idea for a circus when the family lived in McGregor, Iowa and the boys saw a river boat circus come into town.
The family moved to Baraboo (they had lived there previously), where their father operated a harness shop. The Ringling story is one of hard work, grit, and perseverance. They opened their first circus in Baraboo in 1884, and spent their winters in that town until 1918. By 1918, they had become the largest circus in the world, traveling throughout the county thrilling young and old alike. You can still see their circus; it continues to tour the country—although it is quite different from the one that entertained people in towns large and small under the “Big Top” during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Stop by Circus World Museum in Baraboo to see firsthand where the Ringling circus spent its winters. And if you’d like to learn more about the Ringlings and their circus, pick up a copy of my book Ringlingville USA, or its companion for young readers, Tents, Tigers, and the Ringling Brothers (Both published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press). Go to my website, www.jerryapps.com for more information).
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Few things are more American than the circus.
Workshop: Writing From Your Life: Offered at The Clearing, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on October 28. Call 920-854-4088 to learn more and to register. A few openings remain.
October 6-7, Heartland Book Forum, Minneapolis.
October 15, 7:00 p.m. Wisconsin Writer’s Association, Riverwalk Hotel, 123 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Neenah, WI Keynote speech.
October 28, 9-4. Writing from your life—writing workshop at the Clearing in Door County (see above for details)
November 3, 6:30. Rock Springs Public Library, 6:30.
November 5, 11:00 a.m. Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose, Roshara Journal
November 10, 7:00 p.m. Menomonie Falls Public Library. One-Room Schools
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:
Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street