SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A popular event among kids and kids-at-heart is making its return to Sioux Falls.
The El Riad Shrine Circus is marking its 80th anniversary with nine performances over four days at the Sioux Falls Arena.
“It’s still a really good family value, it’s a lot of nostalgia for the parents to bring their kids to the circus because they grew up going to the circus,” Circus Chairman Jeff Landborg said.
Three rings of clowns, acrobats, and elephants attract thousands of children and their families, as Shriners work hand-in-hand with local schools.
“Flandreau, Colman, Egan, Harrisburg, Brookings and we’re able to distribute kids coupons there,” Landborg said.
“There is nothing like watching kindergarteners or even kids who have never been to the circus experience it for the first time and they are ecstatic (laugh),” Elementary Immersion Center teacher Peyton Hecht said.
Peyton Hecht teaches kindergarten at the Elementary Immersion Center in Sioux Falls.
“Kids are brand new to America, so they have been here just under a year all of them, so one of the things that we try and do at our school is make sure that we’re creating opportunities for our students to experience things that maybe are a little more normal in America,” Hecht said.
Hecht is bringing the circus to the classroom through vocabulary, drawings, and books.
“We read a book yesterday about Curious George that goes to the circus and gets into all kinds of trouble, so hopefully that won’t happen for us,” Hecht said.
Landborg says the El Riad Shrine started printing Spanish-language posters and coupons in recent years, providing a boost to the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year.
“We put as much effort and energy into it as we can and it’s just tradition, and we all love it and we all work hard and we’re proud of the performance and the shows that we put on,” Landborg said.
The Shrine Circus runs Thursday through Sunday in Sioux Falls, before heading to the Corn Palace in Mitchell next Monday. The circus returns in June with stops in Yankton and Winner.