Circus Vargas and the Magic of it All

There are a million wonderful things about the summer, but one of the best for many of is the annual visit from the circus. Growing up I had a special attachment to the big top. My uncle was the ringmaster for Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus and so the annual circus trip was a large family affair that included running around after the show with the clowns and trapeze artists and legends of the circus like Gunther Gabel Williams.

The circus was the velvet boxes of rhinestones and costume jewelry my Uncle would collect and send us. It was peanuts and bright colors and glamorous clothes and people who came from all over the world. It was magic.

Some things don’t ever change.

Last night I was able to take my kids to another famous traveling circus, Circus Vargas that has put up its big top tent in nearby Dublin. It’s hard to describe the feeling that comes with coming up over the freeway and seeing the tent rise up over the landscape with flags blowing in the wind. Or the smell of sawdust and hay in the parking lot as we rushed to gate to pick up our tickets.

As we stepped inside we breathed in the strong sweet smell of cotton candy and popcorn and made our way into the tent. Instantly the kids stepped into the ring with hosts John and Laura Weiss where they hula hooped, balanced feathers and juggled scarves underneath the big top lights.

After the pre-show performance we found out seats. The lights came on and the music began and we heard the oh so familiar “Ladies and Gentlemen…” opening lines of the ringmaster.

The show was a dazzling array of acrobatics, comedy, death-defying stunts and lots of beautiful costumes that took my breath away. I was hooked from the moment the show began. I’d look away to snap photos with my camera and sneak an occasional glance at the kids, who spent most of the show with their jaws on the floor.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s hard to describe, even for me, the magic of the circus. As the music played and the performers flew through the air I couldn’t help but be drawn to top of the tent and the lights and equipment that was holding up the tent and the performers. I turned to the side and watched the workers moving around props and setting up and taking down from each act (some workers were also performers of course) and I couldn’t help but wonder if most people realize how much work goes into making the magic happen.

The best part about the circus? The most magical thing is the fact that when you step inside that tent you are transported to another world. And for a few hours it’s hard to even remember what the world outside looks, feels or even smells like. For those few hours you are a child complete immersed in the magic of it all.

Circus Vargas will be in the Bay Area through August. You can catch them in Dublin at I-580 at Hacienda until July 18, then in Newark at NewPark Mall July 21-25, in Hayward at Southland Mall July 28-August 1, in San Jose at Westfield Oakridge August 4-8 and the San Jose Flea Market August 11-15.

Tickets are available by visiting their website,

I highly recommend hitting the circus near where you live, after all we could always use a little more magic in our lives.

Though I was given free tickets to attend Circus Vargas and tickets to give away, I was in no other way compensated for this post or obligated in any way to write about our very magical night. The opinions of the awesomeness of the evening are mine and come from the bottom of my heart.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Margie
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 13:07:26

    I for one love the circus my dad would always take us, me and my sister Marty got to ride the big animals it was magical! Wish I could win tickets thanks Meghan for such a great write up Grandkiddo’s look great! Love Grandma Margie OX


  2. Audrey
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 14:59:31


    Thank you for the wonderful things you shared about Circus Vargas. I was especially moved by your statement “I wonder if people really know how much work goes into making the magic happen?” Well, being the wife of one of the performers who is not able to travel with the circus… It means being apart from my husband from January when the tour starts until August when they take a three week break, and then another 12 weeks away from each other until they end their tour in November. It means holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries missed for my hubby (and our family) and that is just on the personal side of it. After the closing show, they spend ALL night taking down the big top, followed by a road trip to the next town. I usually get a 4:30a.m. phone call to let me know they are safe and sound and heading to bed. I am the 10:30a.m. wake up call, so they can get started again raising the big top. It takes two days to get the tent ready for opening night which is usually Thursday night. As we just celebrated out sixth wedding anniversary (apart again) and I think I may want to feel sorry for myself, I read a post from a mom as she describes her children’s faces followed by pictures where I see the smiles, joy, and excitement and at that moment I know all the missed “special” days we are apart are TOTALLY worth it!!!
    Thank you again for the nice words, I am glad you and your children enjoyed the show.



    • Meghan Harvey
      Jul 23, 2011 @ 23:04:00

      Thank you so much for telling me that. It means so much to know that my post found you & gave you some joy as well. It was truly magical. And maybe because I have family who traveled with the circus, or because I married a touring musician myself, I understand the sacrifice. And I know that the people putting that magic together each night isn’t just the performers or just the workers, but the family like you who also makes the sacrifice for that magic to happen. Much love to you Audrey!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: