Storyfest brings the circus to town


The 15th annual “Storyfest” event kicks off today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) at locations all around Vevay; but perhaps the most intriguing segment of Storyfest will be that the circus is coming to town.

Actually – it’s already here.

The Switzerland County Historical Museum will be the site of “Under the Big Top – Mighty Small Circus” exhibit.

The display features intricately carved and painted figurines by John Mackay of Syracuse, New York.

There are more than 1,200 miniature animals, acrobats, clowns, and trapeze artists in the exhibit, which takes the viewer back to a time when the traveling circus came to communities to the delight of all.

John Mackay was fascinated with the circus, and in 1946 he joined a model circus builders group in New Jersey; and devoted the next 36 years to his hobby. He passed away in 1982, but his daughter shared his collection with the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven, Michigan; which created the exhibit that is now in display in the Switzerland County Historical Museum.

In addition to the circus display, the traveling exhibit includes life-size cut out figures, freak show posters, signs, circus props, wardrobe pieces, and music.

The collection is authentic in it features horse-drawn wagons; canvas tents, and other details that make this a truly one-of-a-kind exhibit.

Not only is the exhibit part of the Storyfest event over the next two days; but it will remain on display so that anyone in the community may stop by and view it during museum hours.

Another stop for this year’s Storyfest will be the Historic Hoosier Theater, where Matt Jergens will entertain students with comedy and juggling.

Matt Jergens’ show involves electrifying routines that showcase the talents of one of the top jugglers in the United States. He fills the air with flying juggling clubs, spinning plates, Chinese yo-yos, and a multitude of other unique props.

He doesn’t forget the most important part of the show either – the audience. There are many opportunities for volunteers to come up and help out with a trick or stunt, and, as always, they come out looking like heroes.

The third venue for this year’s Storyfest will be the Switzerland County YMCA, where the Syrian Shrine Clowns will be performing.

The Syrian Shrine Clown Unit from the Cincinnati area will provide delightful entertainment sure to bring laughter and joy, while at the same time supporting the Sneaker Fund for burns research.

‘Chili Pepper’, ‘Spark Plug’, ‘Big Bob’ and ‘Razzle’ are really looking forward to bringing their antics to Vevay especially for the children of Switzerland County.

The Storyfest event is being made possible through a grant from the United Fund of Switzerland County, which has provided the majority of the funding; and the Vevay Kiwanis Club, which also provides ongoing support.

Students in grades 1-3 at Jefferson-Craig Elementary School and Switzerland County Elementary School will attend Storyfest today (Thursday); while students in grades 4-5; as well as sixth graders from Switzerland County Middle School, will be attending tomorrow (Friday).

Students who are attending are reminded to bring a sack lunch.