MADISON, Wis. - Under the red and white striped tent, currently placed in the West Towne Mall parking lot, the traveling Venardos Circus offers the full circus experience with the exception of animals.
"I believe you can make an amazing circus that happens to have no animals," Venardos said.
Venardos said the decision to not have animals was not a political statement.
"This is just the style of circus that I love, that I wanted to do," Venardos said. "I love the singing and dancing. I love the story telling."
Previously, Venardos worked alongside animals in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. He said the difference between shows with animals and those without is simply that one has them and the other doesn't.
"There are two camps of for and against, even some of my own peers in the circus industry think that I am turning my back on the circus when I couldn't disagree more," Venardos said.
Unlike a circus in a big tent or arena, the Venardos Circus is inside a smaller tent, making the show more of an intimate experience.
"The intimacy here in fact is one of the thinks that people talk about most," Venardos said. "I love being so close to the aerialist or those amazing acrobats. Literally, the people who are checking you in here, taking your ticket or ushering you to your seat, they're the performers in the show."
Madison attendees would agree with that.
"I feel like I am having an experience with them, like they can hear me," attendee Shawn Walker said. "That's kind of awesome to see them just so close."
Venardos said he is proud his circus isn't afraid to be different.
"I personally believe this is the future of the American circus and I want to be a part of the future of the American circus," Venardos said.
The Venardos Circus will be in Madison's West Towne Mall parking lot until September 2.
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