The Circus trip was amazing. Barnum and Bailey really went above, and beyond to make Emily feel amazingly special. Mike, and Jude were not able to go because Mike was still not feeling well. Honestly, it was for the best because the whole event was long, and very loud. Since they didn't go we took Emily's cousin Faith with us, and I think she had a really good time. Once we got to the American Airlines center they instructed us to go through the employee entrance to meet our coordinator. Emily, and Faith then began commenting on how they could tell people they worked for the Circus once.
Once we were inside they greeted the three Barnum award winners, and their family. To read more about the award you can go to this link: http://thebarnumaward.com/. They don't have the DFW winners up yet, but they should soon. After the initial greeting they took us for a special back stage tour of the workings, and operations of the circus. We learned some very interesting facts, and it was fascinating seeing everything up close. We learned that there are 300 people that travel with the circus including staff, entertainers, and families. They still travel by train, and everyone pretty much lives on the train. They also took us for an up close personal look at the animals, and I was glad they did this. Due to negative press in the pass I was very interested in asking questions regarding the treatment of the elephants. They didn't have to take us back there, and they didn't have to answer my questions, but they did. The gentlemen that performed the tour was very honest with me. I told him I have friends that boycott the circus because of the elephants. He said, "and I understand that. This isn't the place for these animals they should be free. We have 23 elephants that have been bred into captivity, and we treat them like we would want to be treated" He went on to tell me how they retire their elephants earlier, and they have an elephant resort in Florida. How they have also set up an Asian Elephant conservatory, and more to try to save the great elephant that are going extinct. The animals had large nice set ups on the bottom floor of the facility. They also had "outside" time, and "pool" time. I could also tell their trainers just adored them. I know it's still not the place for them, but it did make me feel a little better seeing how sweet the elephant and her trainer were to each other (and this is when they didn't think I was looking). Faith, and Emily both got to feed "Asia" the elephant, and she loved the bread.
After we met the animals including a feisty mini horse named ramsack, we went on to the big ring. We were let into the main stage of the circus to meet, and mingle with the clowns before the public appeared. The clowns dressed the girls in funny outfits, did little tricks with them, and took lots of pictures. After that they let the public in, and we were swept off to interview with channel 11 for a news story that will run Friday morning. Emily also talked to KRLD and should be featured tomorrow morning on 1080 am. Once the circus started they whisked the winners Harry, Emily, and Grace to the side entrance to prepare for their awards ceremony. One by one they called the kids out, and in front of thousands of people they were recognized for their generous community work. Grace the bronze winner was born very premature and with spina bifida, she and her family have worked to raise over $150,000 for March of Dimes. The Gold winner was Harry, and I hope I remember his story correctly (it was very loud). He shared his Bar Mitzvah with a holocaust survivor that never had one, and inspired others to do the same. None of these children were looking for recognition, but you could tell their stories inspire others to donate to their communities, and that's what Emily has always wanted.
Barnum and Bailey, and Feld Entertainment were also nice enough to send home a little stuffed baby elephant for Jude. Emily snuck into his room when we got home, and slipped the little elephant under his arm. I think he will like it. I believe the girls named the elephant "zemzi".
It was an experience of a lifetime, and their contribution will help with the 400 Christmas boxes Emily wants to pass out. Thank you Barnum and Bailey.