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‘Just perfect’ — World-famous Yaarab Shrine Circus kicks off at Cumming Fairgrounds
Yaarab Shrine Circus
The Yaarab Shrine Circus and Fair features rides, fair food, games and performances — all open to guests at the Cumming Fairgrounds through Memorial Day on Monday, May 31. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

The Yaarab Shriners kicked off their world-famous circus and fair this weekend at the Cumming Fairgrounds, directing the first crowds into the stadium where they were dazzled by jugglers, trapeze artists, daredevils, tiger tamers and more all while enjoying some cotton candy and popcorn.

The outdoor circus and fair also stretches beyond the performances in the stadium, offering more than 40 rides, fair food, merchant booths, a motorcycle show by the famous daredevil Johnny Rockett, a petting zoo, pony rides, pig races and more.

While the fair opened for the first time on Friday, the first circus performance began at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 22, and they will continue to hold performances through Memorial Day on Monday, May 31. During the week, the grounds open at 5 p.m., and then next weekend, they will open at 10 a.m. Saturday, at noon on Sunday and 10 a.m. on Memorial Day.

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Usually held in Cobb County, organizers brought the Yaarab Shrine Circus and Fair to the Cumming Fairgrounds this year to have more room to spread out all of the outdoor activities offered. Several of the guests attending Saturday said they were happy to see it in Forsyth County this year.

Maya Andersson said the circus was also the first big event she has gone to since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic over a year ago.

“I’m fully vaccinated at this point, but I was still a little nervous about going to indoor stuff,” Andersson said. “But oh my gosh, this was just perfect. I loved getting out again.”

As guests filed out of the stadium after some of the first circus performances Saturday, they headed over to fair’s rides and games for some exhilarating fun in the sun. Guests can buy an unlimited ride pass at the front gate for $15 or buy tickets for entry onto the rides for $1.25 each.

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Families played ring toss, balloon pop, pick a duck and other carnival games while others ran out to get in line for one of the many small roller coasters, rides and of course, the Ferris wheel.

Meanwhile daredevil Johnny Rockett prepared for his motorcycle show, the largest FMX freestyle entertainment show of its kind in the world, as circus performances let out. He wowed guests in the stands as he cycled over ramps and around a giant, steel ball.

Just on the other side of the grounds, guests could catch a much calmer, cute show at Robinson’s Racing Pigs where the audience watched as groups of pigs raced to the finish line where the first-place winner received the ultimate award — an Oreo cookie.

Robinson called on audience members to cheer on the individual pigs, and those picked for the winning pig also got a small prize. Especially with names like Kim Kardashiham, Brittany Spare Ribs and Snoop Hoggy-Hog, the little oinkers brought smiles to faces all around.

There is no shortage of animals at the grounds this week as families also crowded to the petting zoo and pony rides where they could pet and feed llamas, cows, goats, camels and more.

While there are posted prices for items such as animal feed and ride tickets, the money spent will all go toward a good cause. The Yaarab Shriners, coming from 57 different clubs and units spanning North Georgia, put the circus and fair together as a fun way to raise money for children’s hospitals.

“It’s tons of fun, and it’s just great that they’re giving back in some way,” guest Jennifer Ryder said.

For more information on the 2021 circus and fair, visit www.2021shrinecircus.com

Robinson’s Racing Pigs

By: Sabrina Kerns

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