Royal Canadian Circus tops up Red Cross with $15,000

Royal Canadian Circus tops up Red Cross with $15,000

The Royal Canadian Circus announced it had raised more than $15,000 for the Canadian Red Cross during its benefit show on May 13.

That Friday night, admission to the show was a donation toward Fort McMurray relief efforts.

The provincial and federal governments have both been matching donations so the total impact from the benefit show was about $45,000, read a statement from the circus.

“Our young 4H’ers did an admirable job as ambassadors of Fort McMurray, and collected over $15,000 from the 1,500 or so townsfolk and friends who attended. It was a great experience for the kids to get involved like this; community is one of the fundamental tenets of the 4H program,” read a statement from Kerry Moynihan, Olds College’s director of guest experience.

The circus was supposed to be in Fort McMurray but was held in Olds due to the wildfires.

“Putting this together on a moment’s notice like this required the participation of the Town of Olds, Mayor Judy Dahl and Council, Mountain View County, Olds College itself, and myriad others who rolled up their sleeves to help,” Moynihan continued.

“It’s a good feeling to help in our own way, and the kids will never forget the experience; nor will they ever forget this fabulous show.”

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Royal Circus’s Cristhian Videla spends day at Olds High School

One Royal Canadian Circus performer spent a day at Olds High School on May 13 to observe in his words, “life in the real world.”

At 15 years old, Cristhian Videla was one of the youngest acts this past weekend. After performing at the OHS benefit breakfast for Fort McMurray, he toured the building with Grade 11 student Austin Robertson.

“It looks nice. Everybody seems to get along. There’s not that group of kids and this group of kids. Everybody seems to get along. I like it here,” Videla said.

Vice-principal Gayleen Roelfsema introduced the two, who’ve become friends.

“Ms. Roelfsema came to me and said, ‘Hey, would you mind showing Cristhian around for the day, have him tag along for class because he really wants to see how we go to school,’” Robertson said. “I said, ‘great, I’d love to show him around.’”

Videla and his 11-year-old brother Sebastien are fifth-generation circus performers from Argentina. It’s an itinerant lifestyle so Videla’s schooling takes place on the road. “Wherever the Big Top sets up is home,” he said. “We create heaven in one day. And just in one night, heaven is packed away and it’s on to the next location.”

The family tradition started in 1814 by a man named Simon, Videla said. Simon was in the army, building cannons, working all the time. Simon followed through with what many people only joke about doing. He ran away.

“He ran away eventually, joined the circus, became a clown, married a high wire (walker) and that’s how it all started,” Videla said. “That one decision that he made, changed the whole family tradition. Right now, I would be in Argentina playing soccer, going to school, like you guys.”

Videla started performing at two years old. He’s currently learning the trapeze and walked the high wire last year. He rides unicycles, juggles and plays five instruments: saxophone, trumpet, guitar, piano and the drums. However, he enjoys clowning the most and is philosophical about it.

“It’s not because I’m scared and can’t do the other stuff. I like making people laugh,” he said. “When you go to a circus, the main thing is making a kid laugh, making children smile. That’s the main priority of the circus.”

The job has given him the chance to travel all over South America, Canada and the United States. He’s not sure what life would be like otherwise, what he and his family would do.

“My future is to stay in the family business. My family owns a circus and when I grow up, that show will be mine. I have to keep it going,” he said.

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jho@olds.greatwest.ca

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