Aug
28

Midnight Circus to Pitch its Tent at Chicago Parks

August 28, 2014
Midnight Circus in the Parks

Samantha Jenkins with Midnight Circus in the Parks. (Midnight Circus in the Parks)

Midnight Circus in the Parks sounds as if it might feature acrobats at the witching hour. But the series of family-friendly shows takes place long before midnight at eight Chicago parks from August through October.

Midnight Circus is the name of the performing troupe founded in 1995 by Jeff and Julie Jenkins. In 2007, the husband-and-wife team established Midnight Circus in the Parks, a nonprofit program that they note has raised nearly $700,000 for the city’s parks.

“The turnout is spectacular when we tour around the city,” Jeff Jenkins says. “Virtually every show is sold out.”

Midnight Circus captures the spirit of a small, old-time traveling European circus. The cast consists of 18 to 20 performers, including acrobats, aerialists, jugglers and hula hoop artists. Among the performers are the Jenkins’ 6-year-old aerialist daughter, Samantha, and their 9-year-old clown-acrobat son, Maxwell. There’s even an animal act: a rescue pit bull named Junebug.

The performance takes place inside the “Little Big Top,” a purple-and-blue tent that holds about 500. Bleacher and grass seating are on a first-come, first-served basis. People can bring blankets, but no chairs or outside refreshments. Food and beverages are sold on-site.

Next performances: 4 p.m. Aug. 30 and Aug. 31 at Grand Crossing Park, 7655 S. Ingleside Ave. Admission $5; children under 2, free. Group prices available. Buy tickets online and on-site. For full schedule: midnightcircus.net or 773-583-2222.

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