By the Daily Gate City
The Keokuk Kiwanis Club is bringing the Carson & Barnes Circus, billed as the world’s biggest big-top show, to town for two shows on Friday, Aug. 30.
The circus will be set up in the 3200 block of Main St., Keokuk, that morning. Shows will be held at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. that day.
The midway will feature a petting zoo and elephant and camel rides.
Advance tickets will be available at Keokuk Hy-Vee, County Market, Keasling’s and the Affiliates office at 329 Main St., Keokuk.
More than 30,000 performances have been presented since the circus’ founding in 1937.
D. R. and Isla Miller were founders and co-owners of many circuses for 62 years of their marriage and partnership.
D.R.’s father, Obert Miller, developed a “dog and pony” show in 1937 in Smith Center, Kansas, which began the family’s lifetime of living and working in the circus. In today’s Carson & Barnes Circus, one sees D.R.’s vision, his penchant for bigness, his delight in circus and his love of animals, according to the circus’ website. One also sees Isla’s business acumen, her love of style and beauty, her warmth and caring for her circus family, the website says.
Isla died in October 1998. D.R. died in September 1999.
Today, Barbara Byrd and Geary Byrd own and manage Carson & Barnes Circus on a day-to-day basis. Their daughters, Kristin Parra and her husband, Gustavo, as well as Traci Cavallini and her husband Julio, also fill various managerial functions.
Proceeds from the circus will be used to support the Kiwanis Club’s youth-oriented activities.
The mission of Kiwanis International is to change the world, one child and one community at a time. Founded in 1915 in Detroit, Mich., the organization changed its focus in 1919 to service rather than business networking. In 1987, women officially were allowed to become members.
Kiwanians conduct nearly 150,000 service projects, devote more than 6 million hours of service and raise almost $100 million annually for communities, families and projects, according to Kiwanis International’s website.
In June 2010, Kiwanis International and UNICEF announced a campaign to eliminate maternal/neonatal tetanus in an effort to save 129 million mothers and their future babies from the disease by 2015.