Monday | April 20, 2015
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Circus promises big fun under the big top


The circus is coming to both Hilo and Kona.

The Modern American Circus opens a three-day run today on the fairgrounds of the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo, then moves on to Kona for a three-day engagement Nov. 1-3 at the Old Kona Airport. Show schedules for both locations are: Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 1 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Modern American Circus is a highly-acclaimed world class troupe of over 30 circus performers from various locations around the world, including Hawaii, that performs acts of great strength, agility, and genius. There are no animals used in the performances. They shows are 105 minutes long with a 15-minute intermission in a traditional, giant big-top circus tent that can accommodate well over 1,000 people per show comfortably.

Cornell “Tuffy” Nicholas, the show’s producer, handpicked the performers. The acts vary from acrobats, comedy, magic, drama, dance, daredevils, strength and balance and of course, romance, glamour and clowns. There are contortionists doing amazing things, jugglers, a classic trapeze act and even daredevils performing in the “Wheel of Death.” But not to worry, says Nicholas, “All acts are performed by trained professionals — we plan to make it exciting — but safe for everyone.”

Carl Vincenti was tasked with the logistics of shipping 40-foot Matson containers to Hawaii and around the state to carry the tent and all the performers, equipment, etc.

“It was quite an undertaking but we found that people were more than willing to help us every step of the way and we were very fortunate to get connected with all the right people who, like us wanted to bring the circus to the people of Hawaii,” he said.

This year, the circus has traveled to Molokai and has just completed a five-week run on Oahu.

“One of the goals of taking the Circus to the people was to ensure families across the state could enjoy it,” Vincenti said.

Nicholas said that the Molokai stop marked the first time a circus appeared on the Friendly Isle in almost four decades.

“At the end of the shows there were standing ovations and tears in the faces of the performer and the audience. It was truly chicken-skin for all of us,” he said.

A portion of the proceeds will assist Kamaaina Kids, a local nonprofit organization that provides child care programs to assist local families. And a number of other nonprofits will also benefit from a unique ticket-selling plan. The nonprofits are given a revenue share for all tickets sold online through their unique promo code. When online ticket buyers put in the promo code of the nonprofit, the buyer gets a discount and the nonprofit gets $2 for every ticket sold using its code.

Ticket prices vary and are available online at, or call (808) 781-4773 for more information. The website also includes a full list of show times.

Sponsors include: JN Automotive, Papa John’s Pizza, Harley Davidson, Union 76, First Hawaiian Bank, Pepsi Hawaii, Sunetric, Vacations Hawaii, Maui Tropical Plantation, Grove Farm Kauai, Pearl Harbor Divers, Honolulu Freight Service, Young Brothers, Aloha Signs, Island Fender, Monsanto and Oka’s Auto Body. A full list of sponsors is available online.


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