One of my dreams has been to run away and join the circus, but to Jenny Vidbel her grandfather actually did that. At the age of 12, he went off and joined the Ringling Brothers Circus.  Jenny Vidbel is a third generation circus performer and animal trainer. She took time from her busy schedule to share with me her thoughts of life inside the arena.

The Big Apple Circus is bit old school in their approach; they actually want their audiences to have an intimate experience.  Folks can smell the animals and see the expressions of the performers where no seat is further than fifty feet away from the action.  In an age of IMAX 3D theatre and big show rock concerts, it is a type of entertainment that requires no special glasses or big fancy surround sound speakers, for a few hours you are transformed into a magical world.

Jenny is getting settled into life at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta where she gets to live on site in a trailer city.  There is part of a convoy of a hundred or so folks in the traveling Big Apple Circus who claims to be the best of the best in the circus world.  Their last stop was in New York City and she shared that it was in the perfect spot right next to Lincoln Center, next to the Met Opera in prime real estate.

As to life on the road, she shares that the biggest challenge is always being on the move, but in an extended stay in the visiting town she gets to settle in quickly and check out the local sites.

Jenny enjoys the family type of atmosphere with her fellow circus crew and best of all is getting to work with animals.  This Big Apple Circus show will feature dogs and horses.  Of the dogs used, most are rescue dogs that have been given a second chance to showcase their talents.

Jenny Vidbel 2

Jenny Vidbel with the horses

As to training the animals, Jenny stated that she “only works with ones that want to be trained and enjoy it”.  She has worked with elephants and exotic animals like bears and mountain lions.  In working with elephants she says they are very smart, protective and bond easily with their trainers.

Since the Big Apple Circus changes their show every year, she is already working on routines that she may use for next year’s show. As to the training process she stated that usually she has a sketch in her mind but checks out what the animal has fun with and uses that instead of being single minded in a particular arrangement.

When asked “why should someone go to the Big Apple Circus?”  She happily shared that “there is something for everyone and it is perfect for families to spend quality time at an affordable price.”

So get a chance to enjoy the magic of the circus and go check out the Big Apple Circus.

I can’t wait and maybe I might just stay and run off with the Big Apple Circus, but then again I am sure they probably have too many clowns on staff.

Ticket Information

Performances of LEGENDARIUM begin on Friday, February 1st and run for 28 shows through Monday, February 18th (Presidents Day) under the Big Top in Parking Lot A of the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park (enter via West Gate at 1775 Founders Parkway, off Old Roswell Road), in Alpharetta, GA 30009. This is the third stop on the Big Apple Circus tour, following its world premiere at Dulles Town Center, VA, and annual engagement at New York’s Lincoln Center. Tickets for LEGENDARIUM start at $20 and are available at or by calling (888) 541-3750. The Circus Box Office, located in front of the Big Top, opens Thursday, January 31st; there is no service charge for tickets purchased at the box office. Hours of operation: Tuesday through Saturday from 10 AM to 8 PM, and Sunday through Monday from 10 AM to 6 PM. For more ticket information, group sales, inquiries about wheelchair–accessible seating or for additional information please call the Ticket Info Line at (800) 922-3772.

The Big Top is heated in cold weather and air–conditioned in warm, for all–season comfort! The show runs for just over 2 hours, including a 15 minute intermission