THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH! (PHOTOS)

It’s been called the greatest show on Earth, and after a lengthy absence the circus returned to Hettinger.

Circus returns to Hettinger

A performer uses his momentum to ride the ultimate ring. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Record)
A performer uses his momentum to ride the ultimate ring. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Record)

By COLE BENZ
Record Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

It’s been called the greatest show on Earth, and after a lengthy absence the circus returned to Hettinger. The Adams County Fairgrounds hosted the Naja Shrine Circus for the first time in more than 20 years on Friday, July 8, and the stands were packed.

The presence of the three-ringed show in Hettinger was actually due to a scheduling conflict. Normally hosted in Lemmon, they moved it to Hettinger this year.

The show is sponsored by the Naja West River Shrine Unit, which is a 40-member group comprised of members from South Dakota communities of Lemmon, Faith, Bison, Buffalo, and Hettinger in North Dakota.

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Kids and adults of all ages came out for the two-hour show that started at 6 p.m.

The show was performed by a group called Jordan Productions out of Las Vegas. Shriner Brandon Miller told the Record that Jordan Productions has been performing the circus show for the Naja shrine unit for nearly 10 years.

There were animals, acrobats and clowns. Camel, horse, and elephant rides were available before and during intermission. Cotton candy and concessions sweetened the evening for kids and adults. Kids also enjoyed sitting in the face-painting booths, with many getting decorated before the show started. Eighteen bicycles were given away too. Area businesses sponsored each bike, candy bars were sold during the show and winning tickets were hidden in the packaging of select bars.

After such a long absence in Hettinger, Miller said that his unit was really happy with how the whole evening unfolded.

“We had a really good turnout,” Brandon Miller said. “Everyone in the West River Unit was happy with the turnout, as you could see that day [I don’t think] we could fit too many more people.”

Miller told the Record that after seeing how many people attended, their group is going to discuss bringing it back to Hettinger for future shows.

The show is made possible by area businesses. Miller said that a group of Shriners travel to each community and receive donations, that’s what pays for the production.

“It takes a small army” to make the show happen, according to Miller.

But money from admission, concessions and souvenirs goes to the Shriner’s charitable endeavors, their hospitals.

The Shriner’s Hospitals specializes in helping children ages birth to 18 years with orthopedic disabilities, spinal cord injury rehabilitation, cleft lip and cleft palate, and burn injuries. Eligible kids are afforded healthcare and transportation by the Shriners free of charge until they age out of the system. The Shriners also pay for transportation for one family member to ride along with the child in need of the medical services. There are 22 Shriner hospitals throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Naja unit sends kids to hospitals in Minneapolis, Chicago and Cincinnati.

Miller said that if you know of a child that may be in need of their healthcare services shouldn’t be afraid to contact the organization to see if they qualify. Anyone with questions can contact the national hotline at 1-813-281-0300. He also said that anyone interested in joining the organization can contact the unit’s president Kel Brockel at 605-244-5486.