WIN TICKETS To see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Asheville


The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus returns to Asheville today for a stay through the weekend.

Leave a comment on this blog post and you’ll be entered to win a family four-pack of tickets. Winner will be picked this afternoon. Go!

Ringling clown Andrew Hicks has been performing with the circus for four years. The Goldsboro, N.C., native said his work with the circus has been a dream come true. Hicks got hooked as a child by reading a clown college handbook. He started learning how to juggle, ride a unicycle and perform in front of an audience.

Hicks jumped at the chance to audition, and has working ever since.

With the Ringling Gold Unit, Hicks is on the road 11 months out of the year. He’s one of three clowns in the unit, and he interacts closely with the audience. He and his clown colleagues weave a narrative that is an integral part of the show, rather than just filler for transitions between acts.

“This is more storyline driven, but I don’t like to be the focus. I like to be one of the characters that you just notice is being funny,” Hicks said.

Just before coming to Asheville, several performers in a Ringling unit in Rhode Island were injured in an accident. Hicks, who said he rappels from ceiling rigging in his show, said safety is of the utmost concern. “I and all the performers feel safe,” he said, adding that his thoughts were with the injured performers. 

As he donned his own style of clown make-up, Hicks ticked off some of the tools of the clowning trade: the right kind of grease-based make-up that is water resistant; his specially made clown nose; and a steamer trunk which he lives out of while on the road.

“The steamer trunk is sort of an old-school tradition. Some are passed down. Sometimes we go steamer trunk shopping. You’re looking something with the right mix of storage” for clothes and costumes, Hicks said. He added that he acquired his trunk from a retiring Ringling clown.

Hicks said he enjoys the close audience interaction that Ringling clowns see in today’s shows. When asked if he were planning for something beyond the circus, Hicks said he had no plans beyond his current gig.

“Being a Ringling clown really is a career,” he said, “and I love it.”


Dawn May 13, 2014 - 9:51 am

Would be a great for the grand boy’s birthday……

Me May 10, 2014 - 2:52 pm

The circus??? Really? You want your kids to think it’s alright to abuse animals? Why don’t you take your kids to a bondage show – same thing as
Circus, just no animals. Total bs.

Jason Sandford May 9, 2014 - 3:54 pm

Loyal reader Stewart had a problem posting the following comment, which I’m sharing here:

“When I look at animals held captive by circuses, I think of slavery. Animals in circuses represent the domination and oppression we have fought against for so long. They wear the same chains and shackles.”
– Dick Gregory
To learn more about the circus, go to

Hazel May 9, 2014 - 11:39 am

Forget kids, I want to go with my friends!! please please please please please please

John Mitchell May 9, 2014 - 10:29 am

My wife and son (5 year old) would love it. Thanks!

Jason Sandford May 8, 2014 - 4:59 pm

We have a winner! Congrats to melinda!

Sharon May 8, 2014 - 4:50 pm

Thanks for the opportunity Ashvegas! Would love to take my family

AnneMarie Ransmeier May 8, 2014 - 3:19 pm

Loved the circus as a child and would love to share this with my son who is ten and has never been !!!!

Holly May 8, 2014 - 2:45 pm

This would be fun to take my 3 yr old to and I haven’t been in forever either. A perfect Mother’s Day weekend outing!

Jenny May 8, 2014 - 2:25 pm

Oooh oooh ooh, pick me please, my 5 year olds birthday was Monday, this would be great for his birthday week 🙂

melinda May 8, 2014 - 2:23 pm

I love the circus and so does my little guy!

chris May 8, 2014 - 2:20 pm

My daughter just turned 4 a trip to the circus would be a great way to celebrate.

Brian May 8, 2014 - 1:17 pm

My 3 year old panicked and we had to leave last time we tried the circus- love to try again now that he’s 5.

Susan May 8, 2014 - 12:58 pm

I haven’t been to the circus since I was a child, and my two year old daughter is obsessed with Madagascar 3! She would absolutely LOVE to see the circus in person, especially since she is now familiar with all the animals!

Adrienne May 8, 2014 - 11:44 am

I think my 3 year-old would have a blast at her first circus experience… I’d love to take her and her grandparents.

jank May 8, 2014 - 11:26 am

I wanna see it! I hope everyone goes, I hope they crack some whips and let the blood fly! its gonna be awesome!

I bet all the a’hole dog owners that think their mutts more deserving than children will be out there holding up signs and scaring all the little kids.

good job folks. just say YES!!!!

Rob May 8, 2014 - 11:05 am

After a long work week, trip to the circus sounds great!

Gretchen May 8, 2014 - 10:52 am

I can’t believe that it is 2014 and people still think it is OK to capture wild animals, abuse them (oh… I mean train them) & bring the kids for a fun family night to witness this very sad event… Come on people – put an end to circus cruelty – stop supporting these events! Bull hooks, whips, sticks, starvation, cramped in pens….. and all in the name of family fun! Humans baffle me.

Missy May 8, 2014 - 10:51 am

Still a kid at heart…..I wanna go 🙂

Brea May 8, 2014 - 10:43 am

My 4 year old would love it!

Kelly May 8, 2014 - 10:37 am

35 years old and I have never been. Show me what I am missing!

Charles May 8, 2014 - 10:31 am

just Say NO to the circus…..

Matt May 9, 2014 - 9:52 pm

NO, circus. No.

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