The Smirktacular Is Coming To Town

by June Pichel Cook

GREENSBORO – The COVID-19 pandemic has closed down many venues, but Circus Smirkus is moving ahead with its first-ever virtual Smirktacular.

courtesy photo
Smirko Ruby Frank shows her talents for the Circus Smirkus virtual Smirktacular to be held on October 17. The show includes a silent auction and golden raffle in addition to the thrills and skills of a Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour.

The Smirktacular Fall gala, a fundraising event, will be held, October 17, at 7 p.m. Tickets are available on the Circus Smirkus website.

The Smirktacular is the first-ever, on-line soirée and promises all the excitement, lights, music, and all the thrills and skills, of a Circus Smirkus performance.

“We were heartbroken to cancel the 2020 Big Top Tour for the first time in Smirkus history,” Executive Director Jennifer Carlo said. “But, of course, it was the only safe and responsible choice to make. The entire 2020 cast has been invited to tour with us in 2021.”

The circus is “already making preliminary plans” to tour in 2020, providing it can be done safely, Carlo said. “Circus Smirkus will be back on the road,” she said.

Carlo said the Smirktacular Fall gala event features a silent auction, and the virtual Smirktacular show will showcase “Talented Troupers, Cunning Coaches, Artistic Alumni, Courageous Campers, and Remarkable Residency Artists.”

Along with troupers, alumni, and coaches, performing artists include juggler Delaney Bayles and Andrew Adams (Smirko 1991-1998).

Bayles won the gold at the IJA (International Jugglers Association) in the Juniors and Teams Division and the WJF Advanced Overall Championship (World Jugglers Federation) in May. She toured with Circus Smirkus in 2016 and coaches at Smirkus Camp.

Adams has performed with Midnight Circus (Chicago); Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity and Spiegelworld’s Absinthe (Las Vegas); Teatro Zinzanni (Seattle/San Francisco); and Circus Flors (St. Louis). He competed in the Cirque du Demain in 2018 and won the Arté Special Prize. He will share the virtual stage with Troy Wunderle, Mark Lonergan, and William “Mama Bear” Forchion, Smirkus camp director.

Before the online soirée, guests are invited to meet in Zoom breakout rooms to socialize with friends before the show begins.

Carlo said the event promises all the action of a Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour, auction, and a ticket raffle. The auction holds “the chance for one-of-a-kind experiences, art works, adventures in New York City, a birthday party at circus camp,” and other items.

Circus Smirkus is a non-profit, award-winning, international youth circus founded in 1987 by Robert Mermin in Greensboro. Its mission is to promote the skills, culture and traditions of the traveling circus and inspire youth to engage in life-changing adventures in the circus arts. For more information, visit