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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Weekly pick for families: Daring performers bring big fun to big top

The El Katif Shrine Circus returns to Spokane today and Saturday at the Spokane Valley Mall. (File)
The El Katif Shrine Circus returns to Spokane today and Saturday at the Spokane Valley Mall. (File)
Kimberly Lusk

The big top is set up at the Spokane Valley Mall for the 61st Spokane Shrine Circus.

It’s a colorful show, with thrills and dancing, elephants and horses, said ringmaster Richard Curtis of the Tarzan Zerbini Circus.

“It’s a cool show. We always try to keep it contemporary and new. We’ve got stellar performers,” Curtis said.

Those performers include the Cortez family on the flying trapeze and what could be considered circus royalty: the World Famous Wallendas. The high-wire act features Rick Wallenda, grandson of Karl.

Curtis has been working for the circus for nearly 20 years.

“I was 26 years old when I joined the circus, and I’d never seen a circus in my entire life,” he said. His only exposure as a kid was the annual TV special “Circus of the Stars.”

His wife, Kimberly, is a ninth-generation circus performer. Their children, ages 13, 16 and 22, ride in the Globe of Death – with mom standing in the middle.

It’s “seven or eight minutes of hair-on-fire fun,” Curtis said.

Curtis says guests should be sure to come early: Those in general admission need to nab the good seats, and everyone needs the chance to take an elephant ride. The rides are $10, and also available during intermission.

The circus is a fundraiser for El Katif Shriners, a fraternal organization that raises money for Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“It’s set up for the children – the seats are at a very low cost so we make sure children can come,” said Gary Van Dyke, El Katif’s chairman of the circus.

What: El Katif Shrine Circus

When: 3 and 7 p.m. today; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday; 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Spokane Valley Mall, 14700 E. Indiana Ave.

Tickets: $10 general admission, $15 reserved seating, $20 VIP tickets, $25 ringmaster tickets, available at

Call: (509) 747-0132

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