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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

High Schools and Circuses

Bloomington-Normal is justifiably proud of its circus history, but the love of circus performance was spread throughout central Illinois. In 1938 the circus bug had bitten the students at Waynesville. Their gym seemed to be well-outfitted fur such a small community. Below, four girls hang by their ankles from a trapeze frame in the school gym. (Lorraine Krenkel, Hilda Winebrinner, Alma Rich, and Doris Crownover.) And then the same four girls right side up.

Four scantily clad dancers also appeared in the high school circus. (Lorraine Krenkel, Bette Rae Johnston, Rachael Kirby, and Shirley Adkins.)

Tressie Booker made huge circles on her trapeze frame that seems to reach all the way to the ceiling of the gym!

Young men also took part in the circus, including these three who used Iris Crownover for a jumprope in a difficult "adagio" act. (Victor Edwards, Dale Shipley, and Earl Perring)

The Waynesville High School circus was the only high school circus to have a tight rope act. (Richard Olson, Bette Rae Johnston, Junior Burger, Shirley Adkins, and Earl Perring)

So far, these are the only high school circus images in the Pantagraph Negative Collection, but watch this space!!! More are coming in 2020!!!

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