When you have kids you want to start traditions that ground you as a family. This feels even more necessary if you are raising your kids in a country other than your own, where customs, holidays and traditions often feel foreign, even weird, when in reality the foreign one is you. Fall is a season rich in all of the above, and as such, we have also established some things that we do year after year, trying to incorporate our friends into them, as they are our family far away.
One of these traditions is watching the Midnight Circus in the Park. The Midnight Circus in the Park started performing in Chicago in 2007, to raise funds to rebuild the playgrounds of Chicago parks. Initially they performed in Welles Park, but they quickly expanded to several other parks. They perform every year on the weekends of the months of August, September and October. We normally catch the show at Welles Park, but this year we are not available that weekend, so we had to go to Independence Park.
When I was a kid I never liked going to the circus. There was something wrong with those sad animals, and I was scared of clowns. As and adult, I enjoyed going to the Cirque Du Soleil, but it felt to big, too overwhelming. Too cold in its exquisite perfection.
Then I watched the Midnight Circus in 2010 for the first time and I completely fell in love with circus, at least with this circus in particular. It is a family operation where the parent team formed by Jeff and Julie Jenkins run the show, and also perform, as do their kids, 10 year old Maxwell and 6 year old Samantha. They are joined by a troupe of young and impressive artists that include jugglers, contorsionists, dancers, clowns and acrobats. It is amazing what they can do in a space as small as their tent, with lots of imagination and not a lot of technical support. Since the first moment, they get their audience in their pocket, with funny wit, well executed acrobatic numbers and smooth transitions that make the whole performance flow and feel shorter than the two hours that it lasts.
You still can catch Midnight Circus in the Parks next weekend at Welles Park for this year. Don’t miss the opportunity, grab a blanket and some kids (you can borrow mine if you want), and enjoy a magic afternoon. I am already looking forward to next year’s show. Until then, I will go back to the daily circus I live in.
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