Twenty-nine young performers are headed onto the road over the next few days as part of the Circus Smirkus summer tour that this year is going to be based on the theme of newsgathering.
The performers, between the ages of 10 and 18, are scheduled to perform 70 shows across New England and upstate New York, in their one-ring, 750-seat, European-style circus tent.
The troupe, made up of young people from 14 states and New Zealand, travels as part of a caravan of 23 support vehicles and scores of supporting coaches, counselors and other crew members.
This year, the performers will wear costumes of reporters, paparazzi or a TV anchor — even though the music and other costumes are designed to have a 1920s feel. The juggling clubs the performers use are being decorated to look like newspapers and the circus silks, which hang from the top of the tent and are used by performers, are being made to look like newsprint.
Last month, the young entertainers showed up at the circus's world headquarters where veteran circus coaches gave them three weeks to build a show before they hit the road for shows throughout New England and New York.
Circus Smirkus has been based in Greensboro since its founding in 1987 by Rob Mermin, who ran away to join the circus at age 19 and spent a decade with the national circuses of Europe.
The name comes from a comment Mermin's mother made when he ran off to join the circus: "Circus, smirkus, get a job."
The first show is scheduled for Wednesday at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds in Essex Junction. After three days of shows there, it's on to Plattsburgh, N.Y.