Big Fundraiser Under The Big Top

By Megan Trent

July 31, 2010 Updated Jul 31, 2010 at 6:55 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The Carson and Barnes Circus is back in town for the second year in a row, once again raising money for the Allen County Sheriff's Department.

Carson and Barnes is one of the last tent circuses in America and the largest traveling zoo in the world. Animals, acrobats, and clowns will perform four shows under the Big Top while in Fort Wayne. On Saturday the performances are at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Sunday's performances are at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries says the event is a great opportunity for the community. "I think the beauty of this is it's an old fashioned circus. There's only a couple of them left in the country that travel around doing this, so it's something unique they get to see, it's a great day for the family, plus it helps a good cause."

That good cause is a Regional Training Center for the Sheriff's Department. The facility is currently under construction on Adams Center Road. Last year the circus raised $10,000 for the project. They were in Fort Wayne for one day, performing twice. Fries says although they are performing twice as many shows this year, he thinks the economy will have an impact.

"The economy is the biggest challenge I think we have, because even with the presale tickets at $25 for a family of five, people don't have a lot of expendable income right now. So, when they come out here and donate it goes to a good cause. It's a good family day."

Fries says they need about $4 million for a key piece of their Regional Training Center - the teen driving course.

"As the sergeant on third shift for many years, making the death notifications that I had to make, my ultimate goal is to get the course built and get the teens out there driving. So we did this, we had a midway this year, we had a cruise we did in January, anything we can do to try to generate revenue."

If you and your family would like to attend the circus this year, look for the big tents on Lima Road just off Interstate 69, exit 111. Tickets are $18 for adults and $8 for children. If you would like donate, but can't make it to this weekend's event, call the Sheriff's Office at 260-449-7535, or send a check to the Allen County Sheriff's Department and reference training.

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