Jim Hallmark, 67, remembered setting up tents for circuses that traveled across the country back in the 1960s.

Jim Hallmark, 67, remembered setting up tents for circuses that traveled across the country back in the 1960s.

Emma Nicholas, 10, said she will remember the puppies jumping through hoops.
Watching the performers from Santa Claus Holiday Circus Wednesday at the Carthage Junior High Gymnasium brought back old memories for some and created new ones for other in the crowd of more than 150 people.

Hallmark said watching the show brought back a flood of memories.

“It takes you back to the past,” Hallmark said. “The guy balancing on the platforms and the other performers really took me back. It shows the kinds of talents people have and it gets kids away from their electronic games.”

Emma Nicholas said she’s been to circuses before, and this was a pretty good one.
“It was awesome,” Emma said. “I liked the dancers and the puppies. The best thing was the puppies and how they danced through hoops.”

The Hugo, Okla.,-based Santa Claus Holiday Circus was a shortened version of the big circuses that still travel the country in the summer, cut down to fit in indoor venues.

Mell Silverlake, the ringmaster for the circus, said the performers with his circus perform with other larger circuses during the summer.

“I’m a fifth generation circus performer,” Silverlake said. “I’ve been doing this all my life and I’ve been with lots of other circuses. In the wintertime, all the big circuses are closed, so we decided we would bring a little bit of family entertainment to the little towns, keep ourselves busy and bring some joy to the boys and girls.”

The circus featured a man balancing on round tubes on piled platforms called the Rolla-Bolla, trained poodles jumping through hoops, a magic act with Silverlake and his granddaughter, Sierra.

It also featured a trained horse, the traditional clown and a visit from two red-coated holiday icons.

The Grinch took center stage early in the show, then Santa Claus came out at the end.

Silverlake praised the Carthage Kiwanis Club and the Carthage Chamber of Commerce for their sponsorship of the event.

“This was a very good crowd, we’re very pleased,” he said. “The Chamber and the Kiwanis Club did a marvelous job of getting the people out to the show, letting them know the circus was in town.”