The Big Top rises on Monday for the popular 128th Edition of the Cole Bros. Circus.
Shows will run twice daily from Monday, Nov. 19, through Wednesday, Nov. 21, at both 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., at a special circus area on Pine Island Road.
This will include the last two tours of the year, Cape Coral and then Fort Myers on Nov. 22 through Nov. 25. Then performers will head back to their home base in Deland, Fla.
The ringmaster and performance director for the circus is Chris Connors. He makes sure the show runs on time - all the same - for 100 to 1,000 guests.
"I make sure the animals look good, the performances look good and all is right," he said.
"When people come to the circus they see the guy with the big hat,top hat and tails, and you have to have the booming voice," he said of his unusual occupation.
Highlights of show this year include young performers, elephants and tigers.
"It is a great show this this year, all new for 2012. The biggest little star is our baby elephant Val - and she actually performs with her best friend Halley, the daughter of the presenters."
He noted that Val is 5 years old and that Halley just celebrated her seventh birthday this week.
"Halley grew up around baby Val, and basically they are the same age and they perform in show together. It is a love of friendship between baby humans and animals, all told."
Elephant mother "Wimpy" will be behind the scenes.
"When Baby Val works in the show, her mother stands in the back to make sure all is going well. She's a stage mom."
Tigers also will be featured as part of the Judit and Juergen Nerger's Splendid Tigers Show.
"That is one of the largest group of tigers performing in the United States today - Royal Bengal and Siberian tigers," Connors said.
He said the team that handles the tigers is from Germany.
"It's a husband and wife."
Of the animals, he said,
"All the animals at Cole Brothers Circus were born in America, bred here, pretty much all American citizens.
"We also have the World's Largest Cannon, a signature under the Big Top. When the gentleman gets fired out of the cannon he goes at least 65 miles per hour. You have to have the 'right caliber to be a human projectile,' as the old saying goes".
On concerns on animal rights, he said, the circus is more than happy to comply.
"What people don't realize is that we live by USDA rules and regulations; how they travel, how they are fed, various inspections in various towns. Our show plays in 16 different states a year. There are things have to follow, the rules."
The circus has had performances here in Cape Coral for more than a decade, he said.
Of the question, does every kid dream about running away to join the circus? he answered with an emphatic yes.
"I ran away at an older age, in my late 20s, nd right now I am in my 40s and have been with Cole Brothers for 11 years now."
And, he noted, he would never change a thing.
The circus will be held at 609 N.E. Pine Island Rd., just west of Del Prado Boulevard
Tickets are $16 in advance or $21 at the gate. General admission may be upgraded to Reserved Seats for $4 or VIP seat for $7.
For more information, go to GoToTheCircus.com.
Free tickets for children under 13 are available at GoToTheCircus.com