As the clowns crept quietly into the first-grade classroom at Hilldale Elementary school, one little boy pointed and leapt from his seat.
“Oh! The clowns! The clowns!” he shouted.
Hi-Bi the clown and two friends strolled on into the classroom and began to tell the children stories and act silly.
Then he asked the children whether they love the circus.
“I do!,” “Me too!” “And the lions!” “And the motorcycle thingy!” the students all shouted.
Hi-Bi held his hands in the air and then gently lowered them, signaling for quiet. The noise died down, and the first-graders leaned forward eagerly as he told them when the circus would be in town.
The Bedouin Shrine Circus will perform four shows in Muskogee this weekend — at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets for adults cost $12, and children 12 and younger will get in free.
There will be elephants and trapeze artists, popcorn and cotton candy — and of course the popular camel ride on the arena floor during intermission.
The Bedouin Shrine Circus is for kids — but not just for the ones who go to see the big show.
The circus, one of the Bedouin Shrine’s major fundraisers, has been an annual event for the Shrine Temple in Muskogee for many years.
Proceeds go toward building maintenance, employee salaries and insurance for Shrine activities such as the parades in which Shriners participate.
At least 765 children in the area who suffer from burns, orthopedic conditions, cleft lips, spinal cord injuries and more receive care at Shriners Hospitals.
The hospitals are operated by the Shriners with contributions from the national organization and private donations.
Annual hospital fundraisers include the annual Bedouin Shrine Classic, a basketball tournament in January, which raises money for local Shriners to take children to Shrine-operated hospitals and burn centers.
Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
WHAT: Bedouin Shrine Circus.
WHEN: Shows at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
WHERE: Muskogee Civic Center.
COST: $12, adults. Children 12 and younger free.
INFORMATION: (918) 682-2761.