The two local girls are performing this weekend in the Wenatchee Youth Circus, which is coming to Lewiston.
Featuring about 50 young performers, primarily from central Washington, the circus tours throughout the Northwest during the summer. The show provides all the circus classics: flying trapeze, high wire, acrobatics, trampoline, and clown antics.
“It’s a fast 90 minutes. People get to see top notch entertainment,” said Paul K. Pugh, director and founder of the organization, now in its 60th season. “The audience gets a true vision of what these young people can do.”
This weekend’s performance will feature two clowns who, underneath their make-up, might look familiar to some: Addison, 6, and Makenna, 10, are in their second season with the circus. The girls are the daughters of Tim Barker of Lewiston and Lindsay Salkenstein of Clarkston.
For these girls, it was cousins — not a temper tantrum — that inspired the interest. After watching their cousins perform with the Wenatchee Youth Circus a couple of years ago, the girls begged to join. Although they live in the valley, their role as clowns gives them flexibility in their travel schedule. They’ve performed a handful of times this summer and last, a luxury unavailable to other acts who practice year round and perform all summer long.
“The clowns are the coolest act,” said Makenna, also known as “Dots the Clown.” “I like to make the kids laugh and feel happy.”
Addison invites giggles long before entering the circus ring, as she clarifies her role as “Princess.”
“I am a princess — not a princess and a clown, just a princess. I’m the boss of the clowns,” said Addison, her mother laughing in the background.
Both girls have their sights set on future acts. Makenna aspires to try the high wire, though finding a wire to practice on has proved challenging. Fortunately, this is not the case for Addison, who would like to do the roman ladder.
“I practice at my house on the bunk bed,” said Addison.
The Wenatchee Youth Circus came regularly to Lewiston during the late ’60s and early ’70s. It is, in part, through the Barker family that the circus is returning for the first time in more than 40 years. Families who attend often find their kids deeply engaged in the show because of the age of the performers.
“They seem to relate more to what’s going on,” said Barker. Kids who go often realize they’re capable of more than they think, whether circus-related or not. “It’s amazing to see what these kids can do.”
Pugh began the circus as an after-school tumbling club, and it grew from there, as the young people began trying various skills and acts. It is one of several youth circuses in the United States. Pugh had some experience in the circus, but it was the true circus fan in him that influenced the way the group developed.
“As the saying goes, ‘You can always get the sawdust out of your shoes, but you can never get it out of your blood,’ ” said Pugh.
Find more information about the circus at wenatcheeyouthcircus.com. Schmidt can be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 798-8289.
if you go
What: Wenatchee Youth Circus
When: 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Church Field on Bryden Avenue in the Lewiston Orchards
Cost: $4 for youth, $6 for adults, $19 for families. Group pricing and ticket presales are available at the Lewiston Parks and Recreation Office at 1424 Main St.