Shrine Circus Tiger

A Shrine Circus tiger walks through a ring of fire during the show at the Lancaster Event Center on March 7, 2018, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

For 75 years, the Sesostris Shrine spread smiles across the faces of children and adults alike at its annual Shrine Circus.

The Sesostris Shrine Circus will have eight shows from March 12-15 at the Lancaster Event Center. Dan Johnson is serving as this year’s Potentate, or CEO, who organizes events to help grow the Shrine. 

This year, the group brought in Cindy Migley as the new promoter to bring a different show to Lancaster County. Migley comes from five generations of circus performers and produced Circus Spectacular, a traveling circus in the United States and Canada.

With the help of Migley’s promotions, Johnson said ticket sales are about double from what they were last year.

“We’re always trying new events to raise money and help kids,” Johnson said. “Our main goal is just to raise money to help the kids that have life challenges.”

According to Johnson, the money raised from the Shrine Circus will go toward the Sesostris Shrine’s general funds, which is then transferred to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. Dan Bolin, office manager of Sesostris Shrine, said the Sesostris Shrine sponsors about 365 children in Shriners Hospitals.

“We raise money so [children] can go to the hospital and get their care, and [the cost] is the last thing they have to worry about,” Johnson said.

The circus is one of two major events that help raise money for the hospitals. The Shrine also holds a Sportsman Raffle in October, where 100 different guns will be awarded to participants.

“It’s gratifying to see what we can do,” Johnson said. “The stories I hear from the hospital are just amazing.”

Not only do they intend to help the hospitals, but Bolin said the Shrine also donates circus tickets to adults and children who would otherwise be unable to attend. The dangerous and astounding acts are able to impress an audience with a variety of ages. 

“It’s fun to watch the adults become kids,” Bolin said.

This year, the circus will include something for everyone. Some of this year’s acts will include Bengal tigers, elephants, highwire tricks and motorcycle stuntmen. Dominguez Poodles from 2019’s “America’s Got Talent” will also appear at the circus to perform canine tricks.

“We’re just trying to bring fun to the kids and to the community and just have a good time,” Johnson said. “We have fun with it too.”

Tickets for this weekend’s family-friendly circus range from $5 to $20 and are available online and at the door.