Foellinger to stage free circus shows, activities Saturday


By Louis Wyatt

FORT WAYNE — Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation has long been looking for a summer event to replace its family movie nights at Foellinger Theatre, and organizers have come up with what they hope to be a hit for years to come. The free Clan Tynker Family Circus will debut at the theatre grounds Saturday at noon.

“We’ll have all of the standard stuff you would have at a kids’ day, but then we try to take it up a notch and make it a little more cultural,” said Jim Byers, manager of Foellinger Theatre at 3411 Sherman Blvd., Fort Wayne.

In addition to a pair of circus shows, kids of all ages will be treated to activities throughout the day, including bounce houses, a creative activity tent, cookies and canvas (modeled after the popular wine and canvas concept), henna tattoos, macramé, face painting and trackless train rides.

Clan Tynker, a vaudeville-style circus group of brothers and sisters, will take the Foellinger stage for two free shows at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

“Both of the Clan Tynker shows are unique. They’ve written two totally different 40-minute sets so that if somebody is here at 2, they’ll see a completely different show at 6,” Byers said, adding that both shows are family friendly.

Clan Tynker’s shows feature juggling, magic, stilt walking, unicycle riding, Central Asian dance, comedy, audience participation, sword swallowing and fire-eating.

The Santa Fe, New Mexico, based group has made its biggest impact on the renaissance fair circuit, and the group also provides roving entertainment at events. Clan Tynker has been together professionally since 1995. The group has also worked in the Hollywood film industry, with names like Ron Howard and Cate Blanchett. They were highlighted in “Beer for my Horses” starring Willie Nelson, Ted Nugent, Toby Keith and Rodney Carrington.

Saturday’s event will also feature a local, interactive magician and a stage fighting group.

“We were looking at events that would serve kids of all ages, and this is more time-appropriate,” Byers said. “A lot of people do the family fun day thing, and we’re trying to put our own twist on it.”

Events outside the two circus shows will take place on the green space outside the Foellinger.