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Raleigh, NC with friends and family

After the 9-pack in Atlanta, Jameson and I drove to a hotel in Gaffney, SC. It was right next to this water tower, which I'm sure many of you have seen from the highway:

After a much-needed rest, we continued to my Aunt's house in Cary, NC. Her adorable terrier Fred was there to greet us/beg for attention and treats.

I was thrilled to introduce Jameson to my Aunt Chris and Uncle Andy. They're generous, down-to-earth and often hilarious people! Throughout my life they have been like a second set of parents to me, opening their home to me when times got tough and supporting me despite the questionable nature of my career goal :) My Aunt is especially dear to me, because she reminds me so much of my mom.

She prepared stuffed shells, meatballs and shrimp pasta salad for dinner, and it was delicious! After some apple pie and cookies for dessert, we all relaxed in front of the TV. My aunt and uncle left for work early the next morning, but Jameson and I were able to sleep late; a blessing, as we have early shows every day this week.

We hit Target for some groceries, and I picked up some meds for my biannual sinus infection, then we found the train. On the plus side it's very close to the arena and NC State, and accessible from the road. On the down side, the yard is extremely muddy and difficult to navigate on foot, especially right next to the train. The slippery grass hides deep holes and sharp objects.

Eric, demonstrates the muddiness level of the rest of the yard.

We opened on Friday with a "kiddie show". Although most everyone was bummed about having to start the week so early, the crowd of screaming excited kids made it worth it :)
During the split I went back to the train to meet Jeremy, Charlie, Mary K and Christina, who drove from Winston-Salem to see our show! I was bummed to have to make them tramp through our insanely muddy train yard while showing them the train, but they seemed to enjoy the experience anyway :D

We went to Player's Retreat for lunch, a popular burger joint. Jameson came with, which was great, I've been wanting to introduce him! After a tasty meal we walked around a nearby park for a bit, then returned to the arena for the show. I was able to show my friends some of the backstage area before they had to get to their seats. Can't wait to see them again soon!

My friend Jordan also came to that same show, but unfortunately we did not get to meet up. Another time Jordan, I promise!

On Saturday My Aunt brought four of her friends to the night show! I took them backstage for a brief tour before the show, and they seemed to enjoy that very much! After that we went to their seats...they lucked out and got fantastic seats right behind Circus Celebrity, under the high wire!! I was happy and proud to share my workplace with everyone :)

There were other important people at the circus over the weekend, wonderful people who touched us all and gave us new perspective on the beauty of living every day to the fullest. We had a guest clown, a brave young man who lost a sibling and a leg to cancer and has now decided to stop chemo in order to enjoy his remaining days outside the hospital. CLICK HERE to read about his inspirational visit.

On Saturday night, everyone in the arena witnessed an emotional moment as a family was reunited with their father, a military serviceman returning home for a surprise visit.

Moments like these that make me proud to work for the circus.
And people like these leave me in awe of the human spirit.

It was a fun and busy week. Next stop, Richmond, VA! Wait, haven't we already been there??

Other stuff:

How have the elephants stayed warm through all this cold weather? CLICK HERE to find out!
Controversy over circus animals continues, as animal rights organizations target the Blue Unit in Brooklyn. CLICK HERE to watch a short interview.

Our clowns performed an anti-bullying skit for a local school this week. CLICK HERE for pics!
If you'd like to learn more about our Ringmaster, hand balancers, and Boss Clown, CLICK HERE to read a recent interview by Richmond Times-Dispatch!

Two of our most awesome Ringling ladies, the Human Cannon and Equestrian Preshow Host, prepare for a PR in the Raleigh train yard.

(photo courtesy Ashley)