“Watch where you step!” is the mantra by circus folks and Saturday night was no exception at the Circus Flora gala next to Powell Hall. Themed “A Trip to the Moon,” inspired by George Melies’ ground-breaking film of 1902, the concept fit well for the 27th anniversary of Flora. Aside from the one-ring circus production based on the traditional circus arts, it showcased the working partnership of humans and animals with a live band. The ensemble company was graced with the wire-walk of The Flying Walendas. Aurelia Walenda, 28:
“We rehearse two hours a day and stretch daily.” Her dad, Tino: “Our family has been doing this for 55 years and we’re going next to the Circus Hall of Fame in Indiana and then to the Canadian National Expo. I ride the bike on the wire and my daughter stands on my shoulder while my wife, Olinka,does a head-stand on the trapeze. One time, we had a close call working in a train station and had to use forklifts to anchor the wires, because the place was on the National Register of Historical places and we couldn’t use the walls.
The wires couldn’t be tightened enough. They were eventually stabilized.” Hefty Circus Flora donors Erin and John Wright were honored following the reception, dinner and auction. Rita and Joe Carpenter (he was the visionary who first conceived transforming the dormant Fox Theater film palace into a live venue) were on hand as were muscle-bound partners Cameron Earnheart and Matt Schiermeier, who confided they’ve been together for 10 years and are planning a fall wedding in NYC.
On hand were entertainers Jake Wheeler on his flame-throwing tricycle, Leah Wilson and Amy Sprandel, who toyed with a Colombian boa named Tranze. Alexis Tucci was tapped to handle all the entertainment. House managerHarald Boerstler tipped that Flora is a “charity circus” on call by hospitals and fundraising agencies. Ducats for the production and dinner were priced up to $250 each and among the do-gooders were: Nancy and Ken Kranzberg with their daughter and son-in-law Mary Ann andAndy Srenco; Carol and Tom Voss
and Parkway Schools psychologist Andrew Haley with Mollie Ring