By Pablo Jaime Sainz
For many circus lovers, especially those of Mexican descent, a circus isn’t really a circus if it doesn’t have a tent.
No wonder the traditional Circus Vargas, one of the few American circuses that still uses a tent, has become a favorite among Latinos in San Diego.
And Circus Vargas will surely attract a huge crowd to its shows in La Mesa and Chula Vista.
The circus, which was founded in the mid-1960’s by Clifford Vargas, will be at Grossmont Center in La Mesa until this Sunday, September 17, to continue from September 20 to September 24 at the Coors Amphitheatre, in Chula Vista.
Although Circus Vargas is popular among all segments of the public, it is especially attractive to Latinos, who, just by the name of the circus, know that there’s a lot of Latino flavor in the show.
“The Hispanic public is different,” said Katya Arata, who is part of the Flying Tabares, an Argentinean family who was able to buy Circus Vargas and continue with its legacy. “Especially Mexicans, when they like a performance, they will applaud enthusiastically.”
Arata said Circus Vargas was able to probe that once again when they were in San Ysidro’s Larsen Field last week.
An interesting aspect of Circus Vargas is that it is fully bilingual, in English and Spanish. Master of ceremonies Luis Rivera, who’s Mexican-American, conducts the show in both languages, first in English, then in Spanish.
“Circus Vargas has always taken into account the Hispanic population,” said.
Although the circus includes artists from Russia, Holland, and Italy, Rivera said that the majority of the performers are from Latin America.
“We’re an international circus, but it has always given opportunities to Latino artists,” he said.
After a hiatus of over two years, Circus Vargas is presenting an entirely new performance, stressing fun family entertainment and featuring performers from all over the world, working together under a beautiful striped Big Top in an incredible two-hour extravaganza!
There will be no exotic animals in the new show. Instead, the emphasis now is on the spectacular flying trapeze, hilarious clowns, the thrilling World Cup Soccer Fever on the high-flying swing, aerial ballet, and much, much more!
The Flying Tabares, including Arata, are the main act of the show. In 2004, their thrilling performance won the Golden Clown, considered the Oscar of the circus.
One of the advantages of having a tented circus is that the public is closer to the action, being able to sit on the ringside, Arata said.
“People get to see the artist up-close, and the artist can see the reaction of the public,” she said.
Among the attractions this year are Astillita Jr. and his Sheep Dogs, Marinelli’s Trampoline, and lots of clowns for the kids.
“We’re a large and young circus, made up of a diverse group of artists. Our emphasis is on action, not on talking,” said Rivera, who used to perform on the trapeze.
And Arata said that on Chula Vista’s opening night, Wednesday, September 20, there will be a $5 discount on adult general admissions.
Tickets are adults: general: $15; arena: $25; ringside; $35. Children: general: $10; arena: $25; ringside: $30.
LA MESA: GROSSMONT CENTER
Friday September 15 5:00 7:30
Saturday Sept. 16 2:00 4:30 7:30
Sunday Sept. 17 1:30 4:00 7:00
CHULA VISTA: COORS AMPHITHEATRE
Wednesday Sept. 20: 7:30
Thursday Sept. 21: 5:00, 7:30
Friday Sept. 22: 5:00, 7:30
Saturday Sept. 23: 2:00, 4:30, 7:30
Sunday Sept. 24: 1:30, 4:00, 7:00