Even though I have had a season pass to Silver Dollar City for the last several years, I don't always make it to the park during the National Kid's Fest held every summer. However, the 2012 line-up of special performances made me put it as a "must do" on my calendar!
The main reason I wanted to go was that Nik Wallenda was scheduled to be performing. I happened to be visiting the East Coast during the time last month when he was doing his stunt of walking across Niagara Falls, from the U.S. side, to the Canadian side, on a wire. While there, I was surprised at the amount of television coverage he received for his very daring accomplishment, from the East Coast broadcasting networks. Their coverage of him was phenomenal! (When I googled his name to write this blog post, an overwhelming 3,900,000 results came up!) All this made me realize that when I returned to the Ozarks, I did not want to miss the show he would be doing at Silver Dollar City, whenever HE returned to the Ozarks!
A spectacular performance has to have a spectacular "drum roll", and for this purpose, the Wallenda Family Circus, has their very own (and very multi-talented) drummer. They also had a comedian/magician that entertained the crowd between acts.
The theater at Silver Dollar City, known as "The Opera House" had been set up as the venue for the Wallendas. And no, there was NO safety net beneath them! I was not only praying for their safety, but mine as well! That is because, if the performers---or their stage apparatus---had a malfunction, us folks sitting on the front rows would have felt the impact!
This is what I would call, riding your bicycle on the "highway to the danger zone!", as the old rock song warns. Being from a circus family, I guess their mother never told them to remember to put on their helmets before they went out biking!
The Wallendas have a very long history in the field of circus performers. They worked for the original Ringling Brothers Circus. After they leave Silver Dollar City, they will be performing at other locations across the United States. You can check out their upcoming schedule of performances, see videos, and learn more of their history, at http://www.nikwallenda.com/
. One of the younger Wallendas can be seen in this photo, standing on the platform. She is still "in training", and did not actually venture out onto the wire. However, since it was Kid's Fest, it was appropriate that she got to be high in the air, cheering on her parents!
Most people cannot even do "the splits", not to mention doing them suspended on a bar, that is being held on the shoulders of two men walking a tight wire!! Did I mention there was no safety net??!!
No training wheels on this bicycle, and no place for them to roll on, even if it had training wheels!
Nik Wallenda is known as "The King of the Wire", and he is fairly young---being born in 1979. He represents the seventh generation of Wallendas in the circus arts field.
After the show, "The King of the Wire", was graciously signing autographs. The photo he was signing was the same one that appeared in a recent issue of Sports Illustrated.
There were other famous characters at SDC during Kid's Fest. On the day I visited, it happened to be The Flintstones, (plus that big purple thing) and kids could get their photo made with the characters.
Another show that was new at Kid's Fest was Fan Yang's "Gazillion Bubble Show" ( http://www.gazillionbubbleshow.com/ )
Since photography was not allowed during the Gazillion Bubble Show, I dug in my photo files for a bubble photo I took of family members back on Mother's Day. It is to illustrate the smile and delight on the face of a child, looking at just ONE bubble. So try to imagine all the smiles in the theater when "us kids" got to witness a GAZILLION bubbles! It was one of the most incredible sights I have ever witnessed, and gave me a whole new appreciation of the physics laws that explain surface tension!
Another fun aspect of Kid's Fest involves the open-air pavilions set up with kid-size, colored picnic tables, each one with a big bucket of kid-friendly activity toys.
Sometimes, even teenagers could be seen looking away from their electronic devices long enough to make a "FLAG-USA" banner from the over sized Lego's!
This young man may have a future in mechanical engineering, once he figures out how to hold those wheels together!
The Gazebo Stage was the scene for shows throughout the day. These young performers are champions in their field of clog dancing, and delighted the audience with their high-energy dance routines, and skillful footwork.
The third new show I saw at Kid's Fest was held in the Red Gold Barn, that had been modified to make it as dark as possible, to accommodate the show called LUMA ( http://www.lumaentertainment.com/ ) It included the use of black lighting, and chemical or battery lights to create a story about the residents who live in the very dark Marvel Cave on SDC premises, as well as the "lightning bugs" that can be seen at night in some parts of the Southern United States. I learned on their website that one of the originators of the LUMA show received his creative inspiration on a wilderness camping trip with a "city slicker". The "city slicker" could not get over his amazement at the way the stars lit up the sky above them. Being from a large city, he had NEVER seen a night sky that was not washed out in its brilliance, because of civilization's "light pollution". It was a similar experience that led the author of Psalm 132 to write "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. Who made the great lights ---the sun to govern the day, the moon and stars to govern the night. His love endures forever."
Participating in all there is to see and do at Kid's Fest can be exhausting! Fortunately, however, there are lots of places to sit down, rest, drink a cool beverage, and reflect on the blessings of the day. So get out your calendar, and start making plans to take advantage of all there is to see and do at Silver Dollar City in Branson ( http://www.silverdollarcity.com/ ). It will give you a GAZILLION miles of smiles! Tricia