Kiwanians bringing circus to town again

When the Tri-Cities Kiwanis Club decided to sponsor the Kelly Miller Circus six years ago, Bill Swano thought the event would be a good fundraiser for the club every other year. A week from today, the Kelly Miller Circus will make its sixth consecutive appearance in Grand Haven under the sponsorship of the local Kiwanis Club. The circus was sponsored by the Grand Haven Area Jaycees for one year, seven years ago. Swano, who handles the logistics in bringing the circus to town, said it has been a huge success through the years for the Kiwanis Club.
Len Painter
Aug 19, 2011

“Each year it has gotten better,” he said. “It is our biggest fundraiser.”

The Kelly Miller Circus will offer two performances — at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. — on Saturday, Aug. 27, on Harbor Island.

“They really like coming here,” Swano said of the circus coming to Grand Haven on a well-sought after weekend date.

In fact, the circus sent an advance group of clowns to Grand Haven free of charge last weekend to promote the event.

“The circus people have been terrific to work with,” Swano said.

Swano said he always looks forward to the event.

“It is a fun day,” he said. “It creates a lot of camaraderie (among the Kiwanians).”

While there is much work to be done in bringing the circus to town and in assisting on the day of the shows, Swano said he has a lot of help from other Kiwanians in making sure everything goes smoothly.

The Kiwanians also handle the parking at Harbor Island. Club members are asking for donations for parking, but motorists will be given coupons worth $15 from area merchants.

A key element for the Tri-Cities Kiwanis Club’s role in bringing the circus to Grand Haven is obtaining sponsors and advertisers so that the club can provide free tickets and food coupons for children who might not otherwise be able to attend a performance. Swano said providing the opportunity for those kids is very important to club members.

“The mission statement of the Kiwanis Club is to serve the children of the world,” he said.

Money the club receives from donations and ticket sales is used to assist The Salvation Army; Big Brothers, Big Sisters; and Center for Women in Transition programs — as well as helping to fund the Mike Herman Memorial Soccer Camp, the Santa House and the Tri-Cities YMCA Splash/Begin to Swim program.

The club also provides dictionaries for area third-graders.

“We’re always on the lookout for new programs to invest in,” Swano said.

The Kiwanis Club is also on the lookout for new members.

“Being a Kiwanian is a no-brainer,” Swano said. “We do things for kids.”

Advance ticket sales are now going on for the upcoming circus performances. Advance tickets are $10 for adults, and $6 for children 12 years old and under. Tickets will also be available at the gate on the day of the circus for $15 for adults and $7 for children.

Advance tickets are available at the following locations: Jumpin’ Java, Midwest Properties, Comerica Bank, Fifth Third Bank in Grand Haven, Coldwell Banker/Woodland Schmidt, Tri-Cities Family YMCA, North Ottawa Community Hospital, Terrill Financial Services, Great Lakes Risk Management, John Queen Insurance, Leppink’s Food Center and the Grand Haven Tribune.

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