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A short one-day train run from Providence to Hartford. I relaxed, worked on the blog, and had a nice smoked salmon lunch at Pie Car.

As in 2013, the train is conveniently parked about a mile from the arena. On Tuesday I walked to the nearest grocery, a Save-a-Lot nearly two miles from the train, before remembering that their grocery selection is worse than that of most convenience stores :/ So from there I walked to the arena and got most of my groceries from a convenience store across the street.

That evening Jameson and I went to Agave, a "modern Mexican" restaurant right next to the building. It was Cinco de Drinko and the place was PACKED. We could barely hear each other to hold a conversation! But we had a nice dinner and enjoyed some drink specials, and the weather was perfect for a lovely walk back to the train :)

In this train yard we are surrounded by live track, so you have to look both ways before crossing, like, anything. It's also extremely dusty.

For those who are curious as to our water supply, we usually get it from the nearest fire hydrant. In this case, that's under several sets of parallel tracks and across a massive empty lot.

Also on Tuesday, we welcomed our new drummer, Chris Galaviz. He'll be here for three weeks before actually starting the gig on his own, sitting in the drum booth with Aaron and learning the ropes.
He seems like a cool guy. Welcome!

Wednesday was opening day. Rehearsal went well.

(photo courtesy Danny S., BMX)

Here's an awesome video clip from rehearsal, a bike's-eye view.

After the show there was a company-sponsored party back at the train, in the previously mentioned large empty lot. I arrived a bit early.

Three kegs. Eighteen boxes of wine. Plus the infamous "punch party" punch courtesy Brett Barlow.
We're in for a wild night.

(photos courtesy Nikki R.)

There was a bounce house for the kids.

After a while things started picking up. The fire got bigger, and so did the food line :P

It was nice to finally have a circus BBQ. It's been too cold and most of the yards we've been in were either too narrow or too strict to allow a large get-together. I think we needed to blow of some steam!

The next day, only one show :)
I worked on this post and then walked to CVS for various things. I had wanted to go to Bushnell Park like I had last year, but on the way passed a weird little plaza full of sculptures. It was empty and shaded, with a nice cool breeze flowing through it. It felt nice, so I sat there for a while and enjoyed the unexpected silence of this place in the middle of the bustling city.

The show that night went well.

On Friday we had a split. After a nice rousing morning show with lots of screaming kids, Jameson and I enjoyed lunch at The Tavern Downtown. I got a burger so huge I ended up eating it for both lunch AND dinner lol! We walked back to the train and relaxed for a few hours between shows. Back at the arena, we found out that the new programs for our show had finally arrived! They look great, and the band even got a full page with a wonderful paragraph describing our role in the circus! But unfortunately, overall, there are several pretty crummy mistakes throughout :/ For one thing, there are NINE band members. Someone important is missing...

(photo courtesy LaRena, whose name is misspelled in the program :P)

...and half of us have been edited so that we're holding our instruments incorrectly too.
In general, an audience member would not notice most of the mistakes in the program. But for the cast and crew members who were mysteriously omitted (and there are many), it's kind of a let-down.

Anyway, Saturday. Three shows. Our new drummer tried his hand at playing the first act along with the band, and did a great job! The Wheel Act was out because Benny hurt his leg(?). Instead of the Clown Walkaround, Nadia and Dima got to strut their stuff to the tune of some Aerial music from the 2012 Fully Charged show. These two are pure circus awesomeness; Nadia can do aerial, the cannon, dance, and a zillion other things. Dima is a Stage Manager, works tirelessly on floor crew, and can do aerial silks and Iron Jaw acts, among other things I'm sure.

CLICK HERE to see a video of their incredible (limited edition!) act.

On Sunday we had two shows. The BMX act was cut due to condensation on the arena floor. Fun fact: in some arenas, the hockey ice is left "on". The circus lays down long strips of rubber flooring on top of the ice to create our own floor, but sometimes condensation from the ice forms on top of the rubber. It was especially bad this week, bad enough that several acts had to be altered for the safety of everyone involved in the show. I'm sorry that Hartford had to miss out on an incredible act, but glad that no one was seriously injured.

After the shows Jameson and I returned to Agave for drinks and dessert. He had a tequila root beer float, while I enjoyed a banana enchilada with honey whipped cream. Yum!

Hartford is a great city. We had a lovely visit and some really enthusiastic crowds. Thank you :)
Next we visit Trenton NJ. Yaaaay. Urgh.

Other stuff:

On Friday the circus school paid a visit to the Hartford Public Library, where they viewed documents and photos from the Hartford Circus Fire. Here is Eryn (teacher)'s description of this historic tragedy:

"On July 6, 1944 the circus experienced one of its worst tragedies. At a matinee performance with a crowd of 6,000--mostly women and children--a fire broke out in the tent. Over 160 people died, over half of whom were children. In the aftermath, six members of circus management were sent to prison for involuntary manslaughter. The circus was operated by a receivership and for the next eight years the circus' profits went to a fund to pay damages to survivors. Many safety regulations were passed to ensure better fire safety in public entertainment venues."

List of identified dead. Note the ages of the deceased.

(photos courtesy Eryn)

Many circus folks made time to visit the site of the Hartford Circus Fire, where a memorial has been built. Here are some of their pictures.

This circular memorial marks the spot where the Center Ring had been, and lists the names of all who died in the fire.

(photos courtesy Steve B. and Walter D.)