A ten-minute compilation of original photos of the 1987 Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee, WI, taken by uploader. The music is called Calliope Ensemble 6, listed as Creative Commons license, Public Domain. This music is changed from the prior uploaded movie -- that one included a raglet which posed licensing problems.
This compilation of pictures taken at the Great Circus Parade held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 12, 1987 has now been converted into a video form for your enjoyment. The parade itself takes a good ninety minutes to two hours, but through the miracle of technology you can watch it in a mere ten minutes – barely time enough to eat your cotton candy.
The circus parade was an annual tradition in Milwaukee for several years and was a very good draw for tourists. There was a break after the original sponsor of the parade, the Schlitz Brewing Co., went out of business after a disastrous change in brewing in its attempt to make a light beer. The parade resumed with new sponsors for several years but I do not know if it is still being held, since the economics became such that the Circus Museum lost money on the venture.
Where you see a couple guys in red suits standing by a wagon in the road, that is when some piece of the harness broke and they performed an emergency repair. The wagon was the Asia wagon, the problem was a broken hitch, and the site was the St. Paul avenue bridge. This took a few minutes and the parade resumed with the wagon on its scheduled route. The guys in red suits are the outriders; they jump in to perform any repairs, or catch runaway wagons, or prevent people from being run over. There would be a lot more accidents if these fellows were not on duty.
Also I included a few shots of people swarming over what appear to be black mats in the road. The black mats were used to cover the bridges so that the animals would cross over. Otherwise, the animals could see down to the water between the bridge parts, and refuse to cross! The passage of the wagons tended to make the mats creep a bit, so these crew members would scurry onto the bridge and drag the mats into place again. They did this continually throughout the parade – after every wagon – in hot July weather. And there were crews stationed at every bridge.
The elephants are the always the last unit of the parade, except for the road sweepers – for obvious reasons! Elephants are hitched up to pull a wagon – a feat that apparently had never been done before. Elephants cannot be hitched to normal harness and traces due to their side-to-side sway. A completely new type of harness had to be designed for the elephants. So, notice the unusual soft harness on the lead elephant. I followed the elephants back to the staging area near the lakefront to watch the crew take off their accouterments.
The sky was mostly overcast on the day of the parade but the costumes and wagons were so colorful that it did not matter. A good time was had by all.
The movie can be viewed HERE on YouTube. Creative Commons license 2012, Minnie Apolis
ALSO: I finally located an audio clip of a circus-type pipe organ (as pictured in the early part of the video). You can listen to about three minutes of Shaw Spencer playing Evensong on a recording from the 1910s. Creative Commons license, Public Domain.