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After a night at a Holiday Inn, Jameson and I made our way to my parents' house in Bloomsburg, PA.

Although we only had one evening to spend with them, it was really great. We had dinner at a local Chinese place, and spent the rest of the night just talking. We don't often talk over the phone so it was nice to get caught up :) I'm looking forward to having a week with them this month!

My tiny backwoods hometown doesn't change much, but I did notice a few new things...some new businesses, remodeled buildings, a new hospital near the Walmart. Overall though, it's still the same :P

We left the next day after lunch at Perkins. On the way to Pittsburgh we passed by several small towns, and in a few of them we made sure to play a little Ingress, dropping resonators on a few lonely-looking portals in the hopes of maintaining our Guardian badges. We'll see how it goes!

We arrived at the train around 6pm. I was glad we hadn't been on this run, as apparently CSX had forgotten to pick us up in Rochester resulting in an eight hour delay!!! ARGH. Although load-in time will be limited, at least it won't be a total load-n-go. Once we got to the train I unpacked and relaxed. I've got a lot to do before the end of the tour but most of it couldn't be done that evening. Plus there was blazing fast 4G and I had to take advantage of it ;)

Opening day was a bit hectic for everyone. On top of the late load-in, our "guest ringmaster" Rye Mullis had just arrived and had just been handed his script. To make sure he didn't call himself Andre McClain or get run over by a circus celebrity car, our rehearsal was a full two hour run-through. At times it felt a bit silly because some of the acts didn't actually run through their stuff. Like, we ran the whole tiger act without tigers, so it was just a bunch of light changes and musical cues. Silly, but necessary!

And Rye did a fantastic job all week! Each time he came out to perform another show, he got more and more confident and comfortable. By the end of the week he seemed to be having a lot of fun out there :D

(photo courtesy Rye M.)

Anyway back to the timeline :P Thursday was a chill day. I just took some time to do chores and have my own thoughts. That evening after the show, we had the End-of-Tour party! The decorations were awesome, and so was the food!

(photo courtesy Applesauce)

Awards were given out as usual. Bernadette got the "Golden Shovel" (hardest working crew) for the third year in a row!!! My boss Brett got the "Ringling Fixture" award (most likely to work here forever) finally, it only takes 20 years to earn that one I guess! Jameson and I were nominated for "Cutest Couple" but lost to Taylor and Dean :P

(photo courtesy Brian W.)

Still, we were happy to be nominated! And an amazing surprise for the band...we won the "Hardest Working Performers" award!!!! Wow!!! Strangely, no one in the band actually voted for the band, lol! So, huge and humble thanks to everyone who voted for us!

(photo courtesy Brett)

The "Nablo of the Year" award went to Ryan, who had his truck stolen in Florida after leaving it running either in the yard or at the fairgrounds. Durrrr! Congrats Ryan :P

Between award announcements, many talented circus folks entertained us with music, dance and acrobatics. There were several incredible aerialists, and a baton act involving flaming batons and pyro (missed it while getting ready for another act). Some KCT guys did an awesome dance routine, and the "B Boys" laid down some beats as well :)

Among the vocalists we had LaRena (clown) who sang "Let it Go", Chantelle (Production) who sang Katie Melua's "My Aphrodisiac is You", and twelve-year-old Samantha who blew us all away with her rendition of Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years".

Julia (clown) sang "Orange Colored Sky", and several band members backed her up in classic big band style :)
Up until that point I had been wearing a dinosaur onesie (due to a facebook conversation) but switched over to dressy clothes so no one would be distracted by a dinosaur playing the trombone...

Many other awards were distributed, more acts performed, a good time was had :) Looking around at all the people I've worked with for the past two years, it felt so strange knowing that many of us are about to part ways. It feels like we just played Brooklyn a month ago!

This tour has been a lot of fun. Of course we've had some drama...lots of slogging through six packs and nine packs...weather issues, travel issues, train troubles....injuries and accidents. But circus people are awfully resilient. We've made it through this two year run of more than 70 cities and 800 shows, and most of us still don't hate each other :D It's gratifying to look back on 2013 and 2014 and think about all of the awesome things we've done together. Built to Amaze has become a wonderful, memorable show thanks to the hard work of the cast, train and show crews, production, and the Felds :)

Getting ahead of myself again ;)
The next day I joined Jameson for lunch with his family. His cousin is getting married here in Pittsburgh, so many members of his extended family were in town. I got to meet his grandparents and several aunts and uncles. We went to Primanti Bros., an "almost famous" destinaton for GIANT sandwiches!

Delicious, if not nutritious! I really enjoyed the food, and meeting everyone :)
The show Friday evening went well.
Saturday was a typical 3-show day.
On Sunday Jameson's dad came to sit on the bandstand. Other than that, Sunday was normal too.

Next up: Auburn Hills, Michigan. The city that marks the end of the tour. On one hand I'm a little sad that such a fun show is coming to an end, and I'll have to say "see you down the road" to some wonderful people. On the other hand, I'm excited for the new show and looking forward to putting it together in Winter Quarters!

Nine shows left. Let's do this!!!

Other stuff:

With all of the events last week, I forgot to mention that the Gold Unit finished their tour, "Super Circus Heroes". Congratulations!!! See you guys in Winter Quarters!!

(photo courtesy Paula B-D)

Congratulations are also due to the Red Unit's graduating class of 2014!! Way to go!!!
(pictured here with teachers Eryn and Cindy)

(photo courtesy Cindy)

THIS BLOG POST from Barbara pretty much sums up the Circus Dynamic. Beautifully written.

Siam, Rye, and Flavia :)

(photo courtesy Flavia)