Beaufort News

Ready for a family outing? The circus is coming to Beaufort County

Former Ringling Bros. circus clown, of Beaufort, a man of many talents

In 1970, Beaufort resident Conrad Hartz traveled the country performing as a clown in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. Hooked on performance since he was a child in Ridgeland — where his father owned a movie theater he frequented con
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In 1970, Beaufort resident Conrad Hartz traveled the country performing as a clown in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. Hooked on performance since he was a child in Ridgeland — where his father owned a movie theater he frequented con

A traveling show of jugglers, clowns and performing animals is returning to the Beaufort area this month.

The Zerbini Family Circus will be in town for six shows over four days starting Sept. 20. The big-top tent will set up at 12 Sammie Lane, a 5-acre property off Castle Rock Road in northern Beaufort County.

The circus had previously performed in southern Beaufort County years ago, but organizers didn’t know whether the show would draw a crowd in Beaufort, said Tommy O’Brien, who maintains the field at Sammie Lane and recruited the circus here. After four shows in Beaufort last year drew about 3,000 people, organizers added two additional shows during this stop.

“I said ‘Look, people are hungry here for something to do with their kids,’” O’Brien said.

The 100-minute performances will include low-wire acts, performing dogs, juggling, trapeze, miniature donkeys, ponies and clowns, said Will Waltens, who is in charge of scheduling the various stops. Pony and camel rides and a bounce house will be available outside the tent before the show for an additional cost.

About 800 people can fit under the big-top, and there is no reserved seating. Concessions will include popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones.

Tickets are $15 at the door for people 13 and older. Two children under 12 are admitted free with an adult by showing a special coupon available on the circus Facebook page, and children 3 and younger don’t need a ticket.

The Zerbini Family Circus is on the road 265 days each year, starting in Florida in February, Waltens said. The show travels as far west as Louisiana and as far north as Maine.

Setting up for several days at a time is rare, Waltens said.

“In a week we could be in seven different towns,” he said. “We’re one of the last circuses under the big top traveling more than nine months a year.”

If you go

What: Zerbini Family Circus

When: 6 p.m. Sept. 20; 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sept. 21; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sept. 22; 6 p.m. Sept. 23.

Where: 12 Sammie Lane; Beaufort, SC 29906

Admission: $15 at the door or $12 at www.zerbinifamilycircus.com for those 13 and older, two children ages 4-12 admitted free with a paying adult and coupon on the circus Facebook page. No ticket needed for ages 3 and younger. Parking is free.

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