Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fun Fact Fri(Satur)day

Yesterday was an absolutely insane day at work, and by the time I got home (2 hour late), I was so wiped, all I could do was collapse on the couch and have a glass of Bailey's on the rocks.  So I didn't get around to Fun Fact Friday, even though I totally knew what I wanted to write.

Matt and I are going to circus tomorrow!  Assuming, of course, that we survive the whole end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it hoopla.  It's the annual LuLu Shrine Circus.  I've wnated to go for several years, but just never got a chance to.  This year, I had a 1/2-off offer and we actually had a (semi)free weekend!  So we're going.  

The LuLu Shrine Circus is near and dear to my heart not only because it's a circus (and who doesn't love a circus) but also because it's put on by the LuLu Shrine Temple.  What does that mean, exactly?  It's run by Shriners.  Ok, aaaannnd?  Well, I used to work for Shriners Hospitals for Children, and since then Shriners Hospitals has been my pet charity.  I donate money every paycheck through a direct deposit to Shriners Hospitals.  I donate all our soda can tabs to Shriners Hospitals because they recycle them and use the money to buy equipment for the hospitals.  Shriners is very very important to me. Read more about Shriners Hospitals for Children here.  It seriously is totally free care - regardless of income and insurance - and it's amazing care.  The things I saw when I worked there were so inspiring.

Anyway, every year, many Shrine temples around the country put on circuses or other such things to raise money for the hospitals.  The LuLu Shrine is the Philadelphia-area Shrine temple.  In Hershey, it was the Zembo Shrine, and I grew up going to the Zembo Shrine Circus before I even know what the Shriners were.

So, for this week's Fun Fact Friday, here are some fun circus facts!

~ A basic balancing act = a base to lift/catch the flyer + a flyer to perform skills in mid-air + a spotter who assists the flyer.  We used the exact same terminology in cheering.  I was one of the lucky ones who did all 3.  (c:

~ Cary Grant started his career as an acrobat in a circus

~ It is statistically harder to get into Ringling Brothers School of Clowning than into Harvard Law School.

~ Sousa's march, "Stars and Stripes Forever," was usually played to quickly alert all circus personnel to an emergency in the tent (sound familiar, Water for Elephants readers?)

~ Human cannonballs travel at 60-70 miles per hour.  So the next time you're driving down the highway, imagine not being in a car.  Yikes.

~ The first circus in America was put on in Philadelphia (woohoo!) in 1793.  George Washington was in attendance.

~ The hamburger was born out of necessity at a circus in 1892 when a food concessions manager ran out of link sausages and instructed his assistants to grind the meat into patties.

~ July 4, 1944 - the tent at the Big Show catches fire.  Dozens are injured and killed.  It's the first big tragedy to happen at a circus.  Six officials were sent to prison.

~ Ringling Brothers Clown College started accepting female applicants in 1970.

*fun facts from here and here

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