Shriners Bring Circus to Freedom Hall

John M. Dabbs

The Jericho Shriners are bringing the circus to town. The Carden International Circus will be performing at Freedom Hall Civic Center on October 1, 2, and 3 this year. Friday will have one show, starting at 7:00 p.m. Saturday will have three shows - beginning at 10:30 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. Sunday will have two shows - starting at 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Shriner's circus

The Shriners have been bringing circuses to entertain children of all ages for over 100 years. The first Shriner's Circus was held in Detroit, Michigan for the Moslem Shrine Center in 1906. The Shriners have been bringing circus acts to cities across the country for years, raising funds to support the care of children while entertaining them.

For the children

The Shriners principle charity, is the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The Shriners Hospitals for Children opened its first hospital in 1922 and now exists as a network of 22 non-profit facilities across North America. Children are provided top-notch care, regardless of the parents' ability to pay.

The hospitals specialize in different areas of pediatric conditions. These include orthopedics, burns, spinal cord injuries, cleft lip, and cleft palate. The Shriners hospitals provide care in a family-centered environment, until the age of majority (18-21).

The hospitals are owned and operated by Shriners International, based in Tampa, Florida. They were formerly known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. The members are known as Shriners. The Shriners are a Freemasonry-related organization.

Carden International Circus

The Carden International Circus has been entertaining audiences for more than 50 years. Their shows often include acrobats, clowns, trapeze, and high-wire acts. The stars remain the animals.

In spite of many circuses reducing or removing animals from their shows, Carden International Circus continues to use Asian Elephants, tigers, camels, horses, and dogs in their shows. The Carden Circus states they are highly aware and supportive of the best animal care, with a zero tolerance policy for anyone abusing the animals.

The circus, like others, has been targeted by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), for continuing to use animals in their acts. They state the family has operated several circuses under variation of the Carden name by different family members. They state the animals are often treated roughly and forced to work with open wounds.

About the Shriners

Shriners International, also known as "The Shriners" or more formally "the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, is fraternal society. The Shriners are a sect of the Freemasons. The Masonic society was established in 1870, and is based in Tampa, Florida.

Shriners International says it is a fraternity, based on fun, fellowship, and the Masonic principles (brotherly love, relief, and truth). Shriners International has over 350,000 members from 196 chapters (called temples).

Their chapters are located in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, Europe, and Australia. They stand apart from other Freemasons with their trademark hats - the fezz. They're often embodied by other names in film and television, such as Mr. Cunningham at his lodge meetings on "Happy Days", and the Water Buffalos on "The Flintstones". All is good fun, as their works are recognized and appreciated by the masses. You may even recall a song that hit the music charts by Ray Stevens on the album "Shriners Convention".

Come early

Many families and children are looking forward to another turn with the circus coming to town, courtesy of the Jericho Shriners. Carden Circus says to plan on coming at least an hour early to the shows. It will be a chance to enjoy some of the pre-show activities - like face painting, elephant and camel rides, and more!

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Johnson City, TN
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