Think you have had it rough, bored out of your skull in self-isolation over the past several weeks? Just imagine being in a circus, traveling through Texas on a nine-state tour when all hell broke loose with the current pandemic and being stuck there… for weeks… in a parking lot… with no idea when you will be able to leave?
Even worse, imagine you live in Tarrant County, Texas, the place the circus is stranded, knowing that there are literally people who act as clowns for a living hanging around your neck of the woods. *shudder*
I kid, I kid. (Not really.)
Anyway, that’s exactly what happened to the Cirque MonteCarlo circus as they had barely begun their 35 stop 2020 tour.
“We thought [sheltering in place] would last two to three weeks,” operations manager Cindi Cavallini told Yahoo Life. “We were not expecting it to drag this long.”
Imagine 42 circus staff members, including chefs, welders, aerialists, jugglers and, yep, clowns, along with their 14 RVs, 12 semi-trailers, and seven semi-tractors, being stuck living in a parking lot since around March 9th.
Cavallini asked that the location of their parking lot home not be disclosed for safety reasons, but did reveal on Facebook that a coffee house in Temple, Texas donated 30% of any purchase last week if customers used the code CIRCUS to help support them while they are stuck.
They also created a GoFundMe page in an effort to try to offset some of their expenses as numerous circus staff are from South American countries and cannot go home due to travel bans that have been in place.
“No one is sleeping and we’ve burned through our emergency fund,” said Cavallini.
For now, however, she says the circus staff has been trying to keep busy practicing their acts, such as aerialists who have been hanging their straps from trees, and playing soccer, bingo, cards and chess.
“We were not prepared for this pandemic to take such a toll on us or to last as long as it has, not only has it hit us financially, but mentally as well,” reads their petition on GoFundMe. “For a group of people whose livelihood depends on social interaction and being busy and moving almost 24 hours a day, social distancing has been a physical and mental shock!”
It also states, “We are prepared to support our performers and employees through this extremely difficult time until we can get back to work. We have made a commitment to these people and they have stayed loyal to us during this very trying period.”
So, if there is anything you can do to help get these clowns get out of whatever Texas parking lot they are currently stuck in when the restrictions on social distancing are lifted for events like the circus, I am sure the locals would greatly appreciate it. Oh, and the circus folk too.
Franchesca Cavallini, the hula hoops artist, is more than welcome to stay as long as she wants, however… I have to assume.