|Click Photo to Enlarge
Elephants are always a favorite attraction at the Carson & Barnes Circus. The circus returns to Mooseheart for the third straight year for seven shows the weekend of Aug. 10-12.
Alex the Clown is more than just a comedic entertainer with the Carson & Barnes Circus; he's a true circus performer, and he brings his antics to Mooseheart for seven shows the weekend of Aug. 10-12.
MOOSEHEART, August 2 - In one of the classic circus greetings, “children of all ages” are invited to have a great time!
When those children of whatever age go under the Big Top at the Carson & Barnes Circus at Mooseheart from Aug. 10-12, they'll be helping to put smiles on the faces of Mooseheart children of all ages -- because 100 percent of the proceeds from the circus that weekend go to Mooseheart.
“It’s a chance for all families to build that memory of going to the circus together and for children to say that the first time they saw circus was under the Big Top at Mooseheart,” Mooseheart Executive Director Scott Hart said.
This marks the third straight summer Carson & Barnes’ massive tent will rise on the south edge of Mooseheart campus, fronting onto Mooseheart Road. Hart said that while some mainstays, including the elephants and Alex the Clown, will be the same, the circus's show changes from year to year and the lineup of acts will not be identical to that seen in 2010 or 2011.
“What you saw in the first year, maybe you won’t see that here in the third year,”: Hart said. “This is the largest Big Top traveling circus in the country. To have it come to the Fox Valley is nice. You don’t have to travel into Chicago to see it. It’s a great show too. They bring energy and passion to every show.”
Carson & Barnes is the largest traveling circus that still uses a Big Top for its shows. There are seven shows through the weekend to watch the circus this year at Mooseheart. These include 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. shows on Friday, Aug. 10; shows at 1:30, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11; finally, shows at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 12.
Admission is $15 at the gate. Advance tickets, which cost $10, are available online at or by calling 630-966-2292. Parking for all shows is free. All circus attendees are asked to enter the campus from the main gate of Route 31, north of Mooseheart Road.
Every year, children arrive and depart from Mooseheart. Even though the circus is at Mooseheart for the third straight year, a number of the campus’ children have not yet seen a show under the Big Top. Many of the children in-need who come to Mooseheart have also never seen a circus before, meaning this year’s event will be their first time to experience the show.
“The Moose fraternity has been generous as it always is, and has provided tickets for every one of our children to go to the circus,” Hart said. “The circus comes as summer is winding down. School will be just one week away. It’s a last time to be a kid and to go and enjoy something like the circus. It’s great for our children, just like it is for all the other children in the Fox Valley.”
The annual presence of the circus at Mooseheart is part of a larger plan for the campus to host events that an entire family can enjoy. Other events that fall within this plan are the Holiday Lights -- which will return for a third year this year from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve -- as well as the Easter Egg Hunt, which will mark its third anniversary in 2013.
“That’s really the direction we’ve gone at Mooseheart, to open our campus up to family-friendly activities and entertainment,” Hart said. “The circus fit in there along with the Easter Egg Hunt and the Holiday Lights. These are events that allow families to come enjoy these things together. It’s a chance to turn off the TV and to turn off the electronics, and discover fun things to do.”
Since its founding, Mooseheart has operated a complete, accredited kindergarten-through-high-school academic program, plus art, music, vocational training and interscholastic sports. It is an extremely nurturing and student-tailored program, with an average student-teacher ratio of 12-1.
Mooseheart students who complete their studies with a 3.0 GPA or better (4.0=A) are eligible for up to five years of annually renewable scholarship funding, covering tuition, room and board in an amount comparable to that required for an in-state student at an Illinois public university.
Mooseheart is currently home to roughly 230 students, ranging in age from preschoolers to high school seniors. Applications for admission to Mooseheart are considered from any family whose children are, for whatever reason, lacking a stable home environment. Mooseheart boasts its own U.S. Post Office and a fully functioning branch of Fifth Third Bank.
In addition to Mooseheart, Moose International also supports Moosehaven, a 70-acre retirement community near Jacksonville, FL founded in 1922; and conducts more than $70 million worth of community service programs annually.