THE RINGLING BROTHERS CIRCUS WAS FOUNDED IN BARABOO
130 YEARS LATER THE EXCITEMENT UNDER THE BIG TOP IS
STILL THRIVING AT CIRCUS WORLD.
THERE ARE TWO SHOWS DAILY AT AND
AND ALL THAT HISTORY IS UNDER ONE ROOF AT THE CIRCUS
IT'S HOME TO THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF CIRCUS WAGONS
IN THE WORLD.
caught in the act
mark: people don't realize how unique this place is.
McDonnell: Daily inquires from all over the world
from academia, movie makers, family members from around
And we are able to complete that family story and
We don't do black and white so well.
We are very vibrant.
Doing it in Baraboo is very cool.
Susan: in this day of technology, do people like to
harken back to another time?
McDonnell: This was the origins of marketing, the
internet of its day.
If you were in a small town, to have the circus come
to town was remarkable.
They brought innovations like sound, the first airplane,
the first automobile.
Predates tv, predates internet.
The only way to see it was if the circus come to town.
Mark: It was a big deal when the circus came to town.
McDonnell: It was.
The US government came to the circus before world
war 1 to see how to move massive amounts of people.
To think that 1600 people worked to bring the circus
to your town.
It's not like it stayed for a week at a time.
It was pitched in a field.
It was a big top that
held 15,000 people for two performances
It was a big deal.
Mark: Heavy Burdick has worked on the circus wagons
here for over 40 years.
What are we looking at here?
Burdick: Al Ringling's personal carriage.
Car of the time.
Mark: What do you have to do to get them ready for
Burdick: A little bit of everything.
This is our steam cali.
It will be the last unit in the parade.
Mark: Amazing, spectacular.
Burdick: Rolling billboards they were called back
in the time.
Susan: What goes into restoring a circus wagon?
Burdick: Hours, and hours, People and people.
We've got our library up on the hill.
Have the paperwork from all the circuses that have
Look at the pictures and drawings and bring them here
and build them.
Susan: So they have to be historically accurate.
Burdick: 99% accurate.
Mark: Some were in pretty bad shape.
Burdick: Some were.
Back in the day some were just left.
If they broke down in the lot, that's were they stayed.
That's how many of the wagons got here.
People would call and say there's a wagon here where
the circus was, and we went and got them.
So thank God it happened or we wouldn't be standing
here having this conversation.
This one's got a big boiler inside.
Cole Brothers knew they had it so they went to get
it and put it in this wagon.
Mark: This is sort of the signature piece.
Burdick: Oh yes.
and it bellows when it plays, so if you're here for
the parade you'll hear it.
Mark: You like bellowing in the circus.
Burdick: Yes, bellowing in the circus.
THOSE WAGONS WILL BE PASSING BY RIGHT IN FRONT OF
THE SQUARE IN BARABOO COMES ALIVE THIS SATURDAY.
UP NEXT, A PREVIEW OF THE 2ND ANNUAL BIG TOP PARADE
AS LIVE AT FIVE CONTINUES ON LOCATION FROM BARABOO.