Family circus added to list of this year’s county fair fun

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Troy Shrine Club realized that it’s difficult to improve on a county fair. But, they’ve “gone and done it.”

Homer Homann, Club president, said the 2013 Pike County Fair, which opened Tuesday night at the Pike County Fairgrounds, features the Ashton Family Circus along with a fun and exciting midway, exhibits and musical entertainment.

“The Ashton Family Circus brings three circus acts – dressage, a trapeze act and Showtime — to the county fair and will perform at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. nightly,” Homann said. “The circus is an added attraction and one that we know people will enjoy.”

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Mike and Susan Ashton and their seven-year-old daughter, Cheyenne, are the Ashton Family Circus but the family is steeped in circus history.

Mike Ashton’s family is a seventh generation circus family and Susan’s is a third.

“Mike and I met at the circus as did my grandparents, who married in the circus arena of Ringling Brothers,” Susan Ashton said. “He was an elephant man and she worked with horses. My sister has an animal act in the Big Apple circus in New York and my mom is a Wild West performer and is now at the Texas State Fair.

Coming from circus families, Ashton said it was only natural that she and her husband will be a “circus family.”

“But I am the black sheep of my family,” she said, laughing. “All of the other members work with animals. But I love the trapeze.”

Ashton said she learned to be “the girl on the flying trapeze” by watching and learning from other trapeze artists.

“I love being up there,” she said. “Most of my act is made up of flips and I spin by my neck at the end of the act.”

Ashton’s trapeze act is performed without a safety net, which makes for some near heart-stopping moments for the audience. But Ashton said she feels comfortable in her role as a trapeze artist and has confidence in what she can do “up there.”

Mike Ashton dazzles the audience with his “dancing horse” show. He also amazes the audience with his feats of foot juggling and silking, which is climbing on fabric.

Cheyenne gets into the act with the hoola hoop.

“Cheyenne has been training with the hoola hoop for about four years and is now ready to perform,” Susan Ashton said. “At the Pike County Fair, she will perform with the hoola hoop and then invite other children to join her. It’s a lot of fun for her and all the children.”

The Pike County Fair opens nightly at 6 p.m. Gate admission is $6 for adults and $4 for ages 6-11.

Children five and under are admitted free. The Pike County Fairgrounds are located on U.S. Highway 231.