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by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Alberti with Shobey the Flea!

Alberti with Shobey the Flea!

What do kids do better than any adult? Use their imagination, of course! That and have silly, uninhibited fun.

The weekend will be ripe for both when on April 13-14 The Alberti Flea Circus and Strolling Street Organ Show performs Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Heritage Weekend.

The cast: Come and see Paddy O’Reilly Shaughnessy, waving a flag—Irish, of course; Merlin, performing in the hands of a child; Captain Spaulding shot from a canon; and the beautiful, bikini-clad Dardenell (instead of polka dots she wears tiny fleas on her bikini), performing the traditional flea circus high dive at the close of each show.  They are some of the most delightful circus performers you’ll ever see.

The Alberti Flea Circus, one of only a few flea circuses touring the country, traces its beginnings to the 1880’s.  Jim Alberti learned the flea business from his grandfather, who in turn got the circus from someone even further back in the family.  Many generations of children have discovered the wonder of flea circuses by seeing the Alberti Flea Circus.

“One thing hasn’t changed,” says Alberti, “each age falls in love with the flea circus.  Today’s children are surprised to learn how much help is required of the audience. They must hold the equipment, encourage the fleas to perform, and applaud their successes.”  It’s very different than sitting and watching TV, but Alberti feels that this audience participation makes the Alberti Flea Circus real, both for himself and for the families that come to see the show.

As an additional treat Jim Alberti will lead a parade of children playing kazoos to the magical sound of his authentic 20-pipe street organ.  Well that is always a good time! Hope to see you there.

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