By Alyssa Schnugg
Oxford and Lafayette County residents who have dreamed of running away to the circus will get their chance later this month when the area’s first full circus comes to town.
The Great Benjamins Circus will be at the arena on Jan. 27 at the new Lafayette County Multi-Purpose Arena. There will be two shows, one at 4:30 p.m. and one at 7 p.m.
Performers will dazzle and amaze audiences with an array of acts from juggling, trampoline, aerial acrobatics, daredevil stunts and even a few automated dinosaurs.
Wayne Andrews, director of the Yoknapawtapha Arts Council that manages the events at the arena, said the circus is the first major touring event to book the arena.
“We have been talking with their team since the middle of the year,” Andrews said recently.
Management Consultant Louis Leonard said the circus performs in about 150 cities across the United States each year. Prior to the start of each season in January, the circus plots out its route and this year, Oxford was on the way.
Benjamins Circus organizers reached out to local officials about renting the new arena located behind the newly built Lafayette County Business Complex off F.D. “Buddy” East Parkway.
“The new venue is a factor why we wanted to be in Oxford,” Leonard said. “It’s always good to be in a nice new venue.”
There are no live animals in the Benjamins Circus, but there are plenty of exciting acts in the 90-minute show, Leonard said.
Some of the more popular acts include the Metal Sphere of Fear, where motorcycle riders do tricks and stunts inside the spinning wheel; the Cannon Man, who will be shot out of a huge cannon; and the Wheel of Destiny that will feature acrobats doing feats inside and outside of the wheel.
“Then there are the regular circus acts, like jugglers, clowns and acrobats,” Leonard said. “It’s an hour-and-a-half of true family entertainment.”
John Davenport, a third-generation circus performer, owns and runs the circus along with his brother Jairo Ojeda.
Tickets to the Oxford show are $15 for the first 100 people who purchase an adult ticket online. They will also receive one free child’s ticket for each paid adult ticket.
After the first 100 tickets are sold, the price will be $20 ($25 at the door) a ticket for adults, and $10 ($15 at the door) for children ages 3 and up. Children under 3 years old are always free and do not need a ticket.
For more information, or to purchase tickets online, visit https://benjaminscircus.com/sh-events/mon-jan-27-oxford-ms-430-pm/.