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Zoppé Italian Family Circus, not just clowning around.

The Zoppé Italian Family Circus returns to Grand Park on Friday, September 2 through Monday, September 5. Billed as a Family Circus, Zoppé’s roots go back seven generations to its origin in 1842 in Venice, Italy. The current Circus includes a new equestrian show, ringmaster, acrobatic and aerial performances along with great acts from prior years. This performance will delight audience members whether they have been to the show a dozen times or if they are coming for their first time.

“We try to touch every emotion during the show,” says Giovanni Zoppé. “They’ll laugh, they’ll cry, and they’ll feel for the characters. It’s more of an event than a show.”

In previous years the Circus has been financially backed by either Winter Park Resort or Grand Park. This year they are operating just like their high-wire act, without a safety net. According to Zoppé who manages the Circus and performs as Nino the Clown, “the Winter Park area has been a favorite destination for us and we feel confident that we can pack our 500-seat tent for most of the performances”.

Zoppé is, however, seeking and has already received local business sponsorship dollars as well as having the venue donated by Grand Park.

Since their first appearance in 2008, I have photographed many of the Zoppé performances at Winter Park Resort and Grand Park and I am always amazed at the professionalism and passion each performer puts into their acts as well as into tasks like raising and lowering the big top or selling popcorn and cotton candy. When not appearing as Nino the Clown in the ring, Zoppé can be seen spotting aerial acts or simply straightening up the vending cart and picking up trash. His keen eye instinctively picks up on even the most minute detail during every show. Likewise, every performer has at least several jobs to do just to keep this show on the road.

Shows at Grand Park will be held on at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 2 and at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, September 3 and 4, and at 1 p.m., Monday, September 5.

General admission tickets are available for $20 and VIP tickets (chair seating) are available for $25. Volunteer ushers are needed during each performance. Volunteers will get to see the show for free. If you wish to volunteer, please call 970-531-2549.