The big top is up and the flags are flying proudly across from West Edmonton Mall.
But nothing could be more proud than Joseph Dominick Bauer watching his 11-year-old practice on the star’s piece of high flying equipment.
“Seeing Dominick on the wheel makes me nervous but he’s learning the right way. It’s just a great feeling,” said Bauer.
The ringmaster comes from a 250-year-old line of circus performers. His son Dominick spends his summers gaining appreciation for the family tradition.
“It means a lot that my family, both my son, daughter and my niece, are the ninth generation in our family,” said Bauer.
And when it comes to circus, Bauer has seen it all.
“We found out the audience just goes crazy just to see someone defy death or to see someone come very close to getting injured or being at the apex of the big top way up in the air.
“So, thrill is a big part of our show,” said Bauer.
It’s dangerous work. Yet it’s something many cast members love to keep in their family.
“Oh yes, it’s a family business,” said acrobat Igor Arestov. The Russian-born performer, his wife and son perform together during the show.
Bumps, bruises, scratches and strains were a regular part of the training, which started when his son George was six years old.
But now, the balancing acrobat is exceeding his dad’s expectations.
“I am very proud of him because he is doing a few tricks that nobody else is doing,” said Arestov.
Bauer says circus kids will often train with their families, but many also attend one of the hundreds of circus performing arts schools world wide.
“The more that circus schools develop and the more that artists get involved, the more it keeps the circus alive,” said Bauer.
“It’s never going to go away, you know,” said Bauer. “We’re older than baseball, so we’re going to keep on going.”