It’s unlike any show on earth: European circus meets a great American tradition that began in Detroit: The Moslem Shrine Circus. And it wouldn’t be a great circus without the Wallendas. The Shrine Circus comes to the Hazel Park Raceway from Thursday, March 27-Sunday, March 30, with three shows most days.
Rick Wallenda, eldest grandson of Karl Wallenda, returns with “The World Famous Wallendas.” Wallenda will present a contemporary group of high wire walkers. As the patriarch of the Wallenda family, Wallenda leads this troupe, while introducing young talent into the family tradition.
Robert and Gabriella Zerbini return to the Shrine Circus this year with a new act showcasing sword balancing and juggling. Gabriella, a native of Mexico, won the gold medal at the International Circus Competition in Mexico City for her trapeze artistry.
Erika Zerbini, a favorite of the Shrine Circus, returns with her Liberty Horse and Elephant act. Zerbini is known for her compassion for her animals, and her grace in leading them in performance.
“The Shrine Circus is a great Detroit tradition,” said Joe Kish, co-director. His co-director, John Ozanich, has been a volunteer worker at the Detroit Shrine Circus for over 30 years. “I can’t wait to get to work on the circus every year,” he said. “It’s fun for those of us in the Moslem Shrine, and it’s great fun for the community.”
The Moslem Shrine Circus was the first circus sponsored by the Shrine organization, beginning in 1903 in Detroit. It has been a tradition since then, including some of the greatest circus performers in history, including the Great Wallendas, who performed the seven-member high wire pyramid, which collapsed during the 1962 Detroit circus.