Laughter was a way of life for crowds who attended ringside seats at the National Guard Armory in Thomson last Tuesday night to see a variety of circus acts and wildlife animals.
The acts that thrilled children of all of ages were demonstrated by Circus Extravaganza of Sarasota, Fla., whose last appearance to Thomson came two years ago.
Several acts included animals such as a black bear and a chimpanzee. There was even a showing of several large snakes from other countries, including a python from Somalia, which weighed more than 150 lbs.
And of course, what would a circus be without clowns? There were two of them and both were funny.
"It's always lots of fun when we come to Thomson, because it seems as though everybody loves a circus around here," said Ring Mistress Anneli Esquedea. "Believe me, this is a lot of fun for all of us, too."
Star Lowe, 9, a fourth grader at R.L. Norris Elementary School in Thomson, found herself a front row seat to ringside and seemed to enjoy each of the acts, including the clowns, who drew lots of laughs with their whistle blowing antics.
"It's a lot of fun to me," Star said.
Charlie Thompson, 10, who also attends Norris Elementary, seemed to enjoy himself, too, as did 3-year-old Jasmine Demmons, of Thomson, who sat near Charlie. As for Jamiah Murray, 2, of Thomson, while waiting for the circus to start, she simply sipped from a slushy drink and ate a snack from the concession stand.
The circus included the four-member family of Lyne Delmonte, whose been a part of the circus world for more than 40 years.
"I'm a fourth generation circus worker," said Mrs. Delmonte, whose husband, Rudolph and their children, Tteven, 13 and Kelsie, 15, all work with the circus. "This is the life we know. Both of our children were raised in the circus family."
Their children have main acts in the circus, which traveled to 248 towns over 316 days last year.
Tteven performs a balancing act, known as Rolabola, while Kelsie is the main attraction as she performs various acts in the air by rope. She also performs hoola-hoop acts, one of which involves dancing with 101 hoola-hoops spinning around her body. Such a feat is regarded as a world record.
"This is what we live for," said Mrs. Delmonte. "We will continue to be a part of the circus tradition and entertain people for as long as we can."