FUN OR CRUEL? Part 1: Culpepper & Merriweather comes to Camp Verde

The last time that the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus entertained Verde Valleyans was April 2017 at Beaver Creek School. On April 16, Culpepper & Merriweather will return to the Verde Valley, as the group sets up its one-ring big-top circus at the Camp Verde Community Center’s soccer field. VVN/Bill Helm

The last time that the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus entertained Verde Valleyans was April 2017 at Beaver Creek School. On April 16, Culpepper & Merriweather will return to the Verde Valley, as the group sets up its one-ring big-top circus at the Camp Verde Community Center’s soccer field. VVN/Bill Helm

Two shows scheduled

Tuesday, April 16 at 5 p.m. and another at 7:30 p.m. Culpepper & Merriweather will perform on the Camp Verde Community Center’s soccer field

CAMP VERDE – It’s been two years since the Verde Valley played host to the circus.

In April 2017, just weeks before Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus folded up its tent for the last time, the Beaver Creek Kiwanis brought Culpepper & Merriweather Circus to Beaver Creek School.

Now in its 33rd year, Culpepper & Merriweather is coming to Camp Verde.

With two shows scheduled – one at 5 p.m. and another at 7:30 p.m. – Culpepper & Merriweather will perform on the Camp Verde Community Center’s soccer field on Tuesday, April 16.

Each 90-minute performance includes an all-star group of performers that includes Miss Simone and her single trapeze, Miss Paulina’s prancing ponies, the Arlise Troupe on their unicycles, Natalie’s American Eskimo escapades, the flexible Miss Georgia, and the Perez family, with its wheel of destiny and tight rope.

Of course no circus would be complete without its animals. Culpepper & Merriweather will bring in tow its jungle cats – Delilah, Solomon and Francis – under the watchful eye of Trey Key.

And don’t forget the pony rides, the moonbounce, the concessions, or Skeeter the Clown.

The morning of the show, Culpepper & Merriweather will open the tent to the public for a special free tour. But not before they invite everyone out to watch the raising of the tent at 9:30 a.m.

According to the folks at Culpepper & Merriweather, the tent raising is a “unique face-to-face opportunity for families, schools and interested community members to meet and learn all about the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus family and includes a walking tour of the circus grounds.”

Anyone who comes out to the tent raising can learn about the Culpepper & Merriweather performers, the show’s history, as well as the hygiene, grooming and veterinary care of the show’s animals.

Tickets to the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus are available at Camp Verde Parks and Recreation, Bashas’ Camp Verde Feeds, Camp Verde Automotive, Camp Verde Ace Hardware, and Robbie’s Restaurant in Rimrock.

Advance tickets are $12 for adults, $7 for children ages 2-12 and seniors 65 and older. Tickets are also available the day of the circus for $15 for adults, $8 for children or seniors.

Box office opens at 4 p.m. the day of the event. The tent opens 20 minutes before each show. All tickets are general admission, which means first come, first serve for choice of seats. 

The Camp Verde Community Center’s soccer field is located at 75 E. Hollamon St.

For more information or for tickets, call Camp Verde Parks and Recreation at 928-567-0828, or call 866-BIG TOP6 (244-8676).

Or visit www.cmcircus.com and click onto the Facebook link.

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42

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