Thursday, June 15, 2017

Circus Of The Chefs 2017

Hello everyone, Steve Copeland here. This week I wanted to talk about a publicity that we all were a part of this past Sunday. It is the main fundraiser for Circus World Museum, and it is called the Circus of the Chefs gala.

The gala is held in the Deppe Wagon Pavilion, which meant in the week leading up to the event, all of the wagons had to be moved outside. This provided customers with a neat viewing experience of the beautiful artifacts.

On gala day the park closed thirty minutes earlier than usual, because the event began at 4:00 p.m.
Attendees were able to visit tables set up around the pavilion where dozens of local restaurants were giving samples of their delicious wares. 

This photo of the 2016 gala is courtesy of Bill Johnsen

It was our job as performers to stroll around the crowd between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., mingling and entertaining the guests.
Last year Ryan and I got many compliments because we made multiple costume changes and strolled around the gala as different characters.
This year we came prepared and brought costumes and props specifically for the event.

Our first appearance was as two chefs “from-a dee Old Country” serving popcorn to the customers on a trash can lid. We channeled our best Tim Conway Swedish accents as we tried to get people to “try-a dee popcorn”. As soon as people got the kernels to their mouths, we’d inform them that “we found-a it on dee floor”.

This is us letting the group know that even though the snack was from the Old Country, the popcorn was new….only the country was old.

Our next bit didn’t go over as well. I wore a child’s Tweedy bird costume given to us by a friend, and Ryan wore an explorer costume complete with pith helmet; he also popped in his Jerry Lewis “Nutty Professor” teeth for good measure.
We’d wander around while Ryan would explain to anyone who would listen that he had captured and trained me himself to do all manner of speaking English.
When I would occasionally get out of control, he would use one of Nico’s small Nerf dart guns to tranquilize me.
The whole thing was a little too surreal for the upper crust of Baraboo, and it didn’t help that the costume meant for children was riding up on me like a pair of Daisy Dukes, showing off my chicken legs. (You’re lucky I haven’t found any photos…..yet!)
But, you never know if these things will go over if you don't try! The amount of people you scar with your incredibly white legs is a small price to pay for the ever elusive big laugh!

Our final character appearance of the evening was much more popular. We wore our Brazilian samba costumes from last year’s big top show production number, Mexican sombreros, and tape mustaches. We then wandered around the gala speaking to everyone in Spanish, giving out tape mustaches, playing terrible Mariachi music on our trumpets, and generally setting back American-Latin American relations hundreds of years.

Photos by Mary-Jane Foote and Tara Zitzner, respectively

Around 6:30 p.m. our fearless leaders, Scott O’Donnell and Dave SaLoutos, held a silent auction for all kinds of wonderful goods and services. 
After that, the cast of the circus show did the opening number for the crowd, Jacob D’Eustachio did his amazing juggling act, and then we concluded with our finale.

At the conclusion of the gala all of us changed into our civvies and came back to help clean up, because like Dave told us, “many hands make light work”. 
It didn’t take long at all to get the wagon pavilion back into a semblance of order with everyone working together.
The highlight of the evening was when Adilson, our own Brazilian Spider-Man, became tired of waiting for the lift to be available, so he shimmied up a wall, scooted along the beams on the ceiling, and then hung upside down by his feet to remove the bunting.

The show after the show!

Preparing for and pulling off the gala every year is a huge task that the Circus World staff makes happen every year. They always do a great job, and this year was no exception. Congrats, everyone!

Before I go, I’d just like to mention that Gala Day was also the anniversary of when I made a very important decision: I asked Pamela to marry me.
Our friends from Baltimore: Pat and Thom Stevenson, Jim Shores, and Carol Lang, were all visiting, so I told Pamela she should go visit with them and watch Nothing But Nonsense. My plan was to propose to her at the conclsuion of the show.

It was incredibly hot that day, and the whole show I was sweating more than usual from my nerves. Still, things went off without a hitch, and obviously, she said, “yes”!

Many thanks to our friend, Chris Somer, for capturing this wonderful moment on video. And many more thanks to my beautiful wife, Pamela, for making me such a lucky man.

See you all next week! 

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