Circus parade up State St. “best and longest of all street parades.” WHC 2007.001.0520
The newspaper continued its report with the following details of the parade, “A calliope tooted “Everybody Works But Father,” cathedral chimes rang out “Auld Lang Syne” and a mounted band added march music to the strange melody. There were five other bands, one clown organization that murdered opus 924 of John Philip Sousa to the delight of the spectators – also a Colonial Yankee Doodle drum and fife corps in powdered wigs and George Washington hats, and a barbarian reed and tom-tom orchestra that suggested the Streets of Cairo. The parade was led by a troupe of buglers and a golden band chariot drawn by 24 white horses. Later on there was a “hitch” of 24 ponies, no larger than Kansas jack rabbits. There were any number of ten-horse teams, and many beautiful thoroughbreds driven tandem. It was a display of horseflesh that devotees of the track and stable well might rave over.”
One of the most interesting features of the parade was the elephants’ act. Each beast grasped the tail of the animal in front of him with his trunk and held on. Well ahead of the elephants a man on horseback rode by yelling “friends, secure your horses tightly the elephants are about to pass by.” A warning to which the owner of a certain team of horses pulling a wood wagon along Commercial St. should have given heed. Spooked by the roar of a tiger, the runaway team was stopped without harm to themselves or the crowd just a few blocks away on Court St. thanks to the efforts of two bystanders, Ray Gilbert and D. A. White.
Speaking of horses, let’s not forget one of the Ringling Brothers world renowned animal acts, Riccobono’s troup of trained horses. According to the Ringling Brothers circus program, “these equines wear boots, trousers, hats and coats; they dine at the table from plates; they take their own clothing off, even to the boots. One of these animals, known as the Good Night horse, lights a candle, makes his bed, takes off boots and coat, winds the clock, puts out the candle and goes to bed.”
And the babies, have we mentioned the dozen really interesting babies that accompanied the circus to town? According to the Oregonian newspaper, “They represent thousands of dollars, and are guarded like royalty. Their mothers are fiercely jealous of them, and ready to fight to the death to protect them. There are four sets of twins among them, which accounts for eight mothers of 12 babies. All are American born, but of foreign descent. They weigh from a few pounds to upwards of a ton apiece.”
The second section of the four circus trains contained the special animal nursery. These special babies are the star features in the menagerie of Ringling Brothers. “The families include Mrs. Tigress and three kittens, Mrs. Alice Elephant and offspring, Mrs. Peruvian Llama and Miss Llama, Miss Leopard and spotted little ones, Mrs. Lioness and roistering cubs, Mrs. Kangaroo and baby, Mrs. Hyena and youngster.”