Friday, February 03, 2006

Vintage Circus Wagon

Vintage Circus Wagon (July 2003)

The Great Circus Parade used to be an annual summer event held in Milwaukee in early July. The vintage train wagons are stored and on display at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, the original summer home of the Biggest Show on Earth: the Barnum & Bailey Circus. At the end of June/early July, the wagons would be loaded onto a train that would wind across southern Wisconsin into the northern tip of Illinois, stopping in Madison, Janesville, Rockford and a few small towns along the way, before eventually making Milwaukee. There they would be on display for a week before the big parade.

Sadly, it has become too expensive for the train to make this annual trip, and 2003 saw not only the last Circus Train, but the last parade in Milwaukee. The parade has been held in Baraboo the past two summers, which means less travel expenses, but because they have held it the same weekend as Rhthym & Booms in Madison, turnout has not been as high as expected so sadly there will be no parade in 2006. Of course, parade planners seem oblivious to the fact that, if they want bigger attendence, holding the parade around the 4th of July probably isn't a good idea. Thousands flock to Madison from across southern Wisconsin and surrounding states. I know many here in Madison would love to attend the parade, but are loathe to do so the day of Rhthym & Booms. Sure, you could easily attend both, if you don't mind the traffic from Baraboo to Madison, but most prefer a lazy day at the park, listening to the various bands before the fireworks extravaganza.

Hopefully Circus World Museum will survive and there will one day be a circus train again. It truly is a wonderous site to see!


Annalee Blysse said...

That is beautiful! Love the look of it.

Heather said...

Thank you! One of these days I'll dig out my pics and scan a bunch more. The workmanship on these vintage wagons is amazing!

Jana said...

Oooo, cool. You're just full of neat stuff these days, gal. Hate that the parade got dissed though. So sad when traditions like that come to an end.

Heather said...

Thanks Jana. I hate that so many traditions and special events are being canceled these days. In my opinion, more of the greedy corporations need to give back to communities to ensure that such events continue to thrive. It's what keeps neighborhoods and communities alive.