High-flying acrobats and motorcycle dare-devils came to Perkins Township this weekend with the Bailey and Barnes circus.
The audience shrieked and screamed with delight as a man performed acrobatic stunts in a metal wheel atop a swinging pendulum.
"Snow cones! Cotton candy! Peanuts here!" called the vendors as they walked amidst the crowd beneath the red and yellow striped tent.
Darlene Bibler, 46, volunteered to have her picture taken in the center ring and was surprised when a boa constrictor was placed on her shoulders for the photo.
"I didn't know about that part," Bibler said with a smile.
She came to the circus with her son, Travis, and daughter-in-law, Jennifer. Her grandchildren, Trinity, 31/2, Brodie, 11/2, and family friend Cooper, 2, enjoyed their first circus together at the Erie County Fairgrounds on Perkins Ave.
Gymnasts and contortionists performed throughout the hour and a half long circus.
"I liked those rope ones the best," said 6 year-old Ashley Sizemore of Perkins. Sizemore hopes to become a gymnast herself and maybe even perform like the Mongolian contortion artists who spun and balanced on ropes hanging from the very top of the canvas coliseum.
But it was the motorcyclists who stole the show as they roared within the "globe of death." At one point, 10 year-old Raiza Riberro stood in the center of the globe with her arms held straight above her head as her brother-in-law, Didier Giraldo, drove close enough to reach out and touch her.
Raiza exited the metal globe as another cyclist entered. The two machines spun around in a flurry of roars and smoke, sometimes only missing each other by inches.
Both of the cyclists, Didier Giraldo, 31, and his wife, Rafaela Giraldo, 24, are fifth-generation circus performers. Didier is from Columbia, Rafaela from Brazil. The pair must practice the act every day to keep in sync with each other - and avoid potentially deadly accidents.
Didier Giraldo said that he has experienced accidents within the globe, but fortunately none have happened with this wife.
The Saturday show was the first the Bailey and Barnes circus has brought to the Erie County Fairgrounds. The traveling act is based in Las Vegas and has been touring since 1953 according to circusman John Lewis.
Lewis has been with the circus for 10 years.
"It's a lonesome life without your family," Lewis said of the 10 months the show spends on the road each year.
After their evening performance, the circus packed up their traveling home and prepared for another show.