An elephant is used by the Kelly Miller Circus to set up their tent Monday in Kelleys Island.
KELLEYS ISLAND, Ohio - The Kelly Miller Circus has arrived safely on Kelleys Island and a crowd of about 200 gathered at the docks to welcome them and to watch the animals unload.
Trailers from the Kelly Miller Circus ride the Kelleys Island Ferry Sunday night. Two ferries made five trips each to transport the whole circus.
Two ferries — the Shirley Irene and the Kayla Marie — made five trips each late Sunday night to transport the entire circus from Marblehead to the island. The ferries also carried non-circus passengers and other vehicles during the five-hour transport period from 7 p.m. Sunday until 12:20 a.m. Monday.
When the ferry carrying the elephants, camels, and tigers came over, the crowd cheering them on at the docks followed to the circus site at the Kelleys Island Ball Diamond. There the circus staff set up the canopies that shade the camels and elephants.
Chris Bradford, ferry captain aboard the Shirley Irene, changes his work schedule each year so he can take the circus across to the island. Mr. Bradford said the ferries stay running past the normal hours for the circus. The Kayla Marie, 120 by 40 feet, normally stops running in the early evening, whereas the Shirley Irene, 150 by 40 feet, generally runs until 11 p.m. Island Ferry Boat Line sponsors the circus’ transportation.
“The animals are all boxed in,” Mr. Bradford said, “but it’s neat to see people of all ages come to watch.”
Sitting from left Karen Teal with her granddaughter Audrey Swigart, 5, Abbey Swigart, 8, Amber Swigart, 11, along with Nick Swigart and Jen Swigart all of Wooster, Ohio, watch the Kelly Miller Circus set up their tent Monday at Kelleys Island.
Elephants Becky, Lisa, and Traci watched from a window in the side of their truck. When they were released just before 10 p.m. the crowd began cheering and applauding, and the elephants trumpeted a welcome.
The circus came from Richfield, Ohio Sunday morning, traveled to and played in Avon, and then came to Kelleys Island by night.
The tent went up at 9:15 Monday morning, and a crowd gathered again to watch elephant Lisa raise the four main posts. The first show starts at 4 p.m. Monday with preshow camel, elephant, and pony rides kicking off at 3 p.m.