The Shrine Circus is back in Lincoln
By Jake Bockoven, NewsNetNebraska
In this digital age of 3D movies, iPads, and video game systems, there is one thing that entertainment technology cannot effectively replicate.
Animals. Live uncaged animals. Dangerous animals such as elephants, tigers and bears.
Zech Gunn brought his four-year-old son to the opening night of the 68th annual Shrine Circus in Lincoln with that idea in mind.
”The animals (are) things you don’t see everyday,” Gunn said. “You see them on TV but you don’t see them in person, and they aren’t behind a fence like at a zoo.”
The Shrine Circus offers more than just live animals. Numerous acts play throughout the night as clowns, magicians, and acrobats take their turn in impressing the crowd.
Before the show Wednesday night, the ring master said that the Shrine Circus takes pride in the fact that it has remained PG throughout the years.
Ron Cerveny who is the Potentate, or Chairman of the local Shrine Board, said the circus is all about the children.
“We do about seven or eight shows (in Lincoln each year) and after that many people start to get tired, but once you see the smiles on the kids faces, it’s all worth it,” Cerveny said.
All proceeds from the circus go toward “Shrine activities,” which includes helping children in need, Cerveny said.
The fact that the family environment is consistent may not be coincidence.
Jim Plunkett is the director of the circus and he said his father had a circus and his grandfather had one before that. Now, two of Plunkett’s sons perform as acrobats in his circus — something Plunkett used to do himself as part of his father’s circus.
Additionally the circus’ workers seem to have a close camaraderie.
“I’ve been coming to the circus since 89′ back when Jim (Plunkett) was skinny and had hair, ” said Doug Terranova, one of the animal overseers.
To which Plunkett replied, “I never had hair.”
The Shrine Circus will be playing at Pershing Auditorium in Lincoln every night through Sunday (March 17th). Tickets start at $8.50 and children under two can get in free. The show lasts around 2 hours with a break in between.
Before and after the show, the audience is encouraged to seek entertainment on the floor by mingling with the shows numerous personalities or by riding Ladybug the camel or the giant elephant.
Cerveny is hoping that more families will attend due to the bad weather that is expected over the weekend.
“If it is nice the numbers are down,” Cerveny said. “This weekend its not gonna be nice….We love that.”