There is just nothing better than an off-brand circus.
If you EVER happen upon a gas station that is giving away free kid’s tickets to a circus nearby, you really have to go…and take everyone you know.
We found free tickets at a gas station near us, just this morning.
I called and asked Aaron if we could go.
Only my husband would say yes, fully knowing what he was getting himself into.
The coupon said, “The Esqueda Brothers Circus Extravaganza.” Who could miss such a promising event?
It was at the fair grounds in Navasota. Even better.
We picked up the Henry kids and headed to a land flowing with hilarity.
It seemed we were the only ones going to the circus.
We pulled into the parking lot and sure enough…we WERE the only ones going to the circus.
At first, we thought the circus was going to be in this little metal building sitting in the middle of a pasture.
I started clapping with excitement. Aaron started laughing. The kids were climbing over each other to get out of the car.
The extravaganza actually ended up being out doors, hidden from our view in the parking lot.
Before we got out of the car, I reminded the kids that we call these off-brand circuses, “soupuses.”
We can’t actually call them a circus. That would be wrong on so many levels.
They aren’t really a circus, as in a real, Ringling Bros. Circus.
However, they ARE just as entertaining, in their own unique and wonderful way.
At Ringling Bros. Circuses I say, “Ooh” and “Ah” a lot. I leave wanting to load up my family and immediately join the circus where we can play with elephants and wear sparkly clothes every day. It's like watching a dream, awake.
At a soupous such as the Esqueda Brothers Circus Extravaganza, there are absolutely NO “Oohs” and “Ahs.” Not a single one.
However, you do leave with some real-live pee in your pants.
This is what we walked up to:
Before the actual extravaganza began, a lady in her 80’s from Helsinki, Finland came out and encouraged us all to buy our circus coloring books. If your book had a star sticker in it, you got one of these elephants.
This was very exciting, since the only elephants at this soupus were these pink, plastic ones.
Then, the show began.
All of a sudden, a “different” lady came out from behind the curtain. She too was about 80 years old and from Helsinki, Finland as well. She looked almost identical to the coloring book lady, EXCEPT she now had on a shiny shirt.
These soupus people can be ever so tricky.
As the show went on, Aaron turned to me and said, "Wouldn't you just want to sit down with that lady and talk to her...I mean...really...how does a person get from Finland to the Fairgrounds in Navasota surrounded by soupus performers?"
I said..."I think I'm going to be her one day."
Can't you all see it coming?
“Oh…good Heather…I’m glad we brought the Henry kids to the porno circus.”
I was crying with laughter.
I could not catch my breath. It did not help that every time I looked over at Joseph he was looking down at the ground...or at me, rolling his eyes.
Then, the “Space Princess” came out. I think she was wearing a bikini with a cape made out of a highway worker’s vest. I thought it was fantastic. And, it glowed in the dark. I want one.
Next came the contortionist.
And to think...I call talking on the phone and cooking supper multi-tasking. Shame on me.
Next was my favorite segment of the soupous.
This was when the Finish MC would come out…the lights would all be off…and she would try to convince everyone that they needed to buy a glow in the dark circus toy.
Here were some of her pitches…
“This is a one of a kind, fiber optic Expando Sword.”
“You can hang these from your door knob, your bed post, or your rear-view mirror.”
And my favorite…
“This toy comes with a special, exclusive feature…an off and on switch.”
Aaron was laughing out loud and tears were running down his face.
How we love the soupus.
Intermission happened next.
Sparkly Finish lady said we must stay for the rest of the circus because the good stuff was coming up next…the dogs and snakes. She seemed worried her little crowd would leave. What?
Nothing could make us miss the dogs and snakes. Nothing.
During intermission, Sponge Bob came out to have his picture taken with kids for $5 a picture.
He was so filthy. His dirty Spongeness was literally hanging off his sponge parts down to his knee parts. You could shake his hand, or one of the dirt clumps hanging off of him. It was your choice.
Of course my kids had to go say hi to Sponge Bob. Of course we let them.
He was really dressed in a ninja costume. He was also the clown. He was also white.
He was a white ninja snake master who doubled as the soupus clown.
I could barely breathe.
The snake act consisted of picking up a snake out of a box and holding it up in the air…and walking around with it…while the Sparkly Finish MC saying, in a very panicked voice…
“Everyone stay seated. Please stay seated.”
Aaron was stomping his foot with laughter.
Hayden thought the Snake Ninja Master was the coolest person in the world. He wants to be him.
Then there was a juggling man. He was pretty good. He juggled little balls with his mouth. Spit was flying everywhere…but he really was incredible. Aaron said he was going to learn to do this. I was beside myself with excitement. However, I did say, "Honey please...you can only practice this if Jason or Rusty are around so they can save you if you choke on one of those balls."
Then we laughed some more thinking about if Aaron died choking on a small plastic ball while learning to juggle with his mouth. I've always known Aaron would die doing something similar to this...something so silly and funny that the person presiding over his funeral could not even say out loud how Aaron died because he would start laughing.
Next up was the clown. However…the Ninja Snake Master had not had enough time to turn back into the clown…so there was a moment of awkwardness.
Have no fear.
Someone’s arm came out of the curtain holding a shiny flag…the Sparkly Finish MC took it…looked at it…and no joke said...
“Let's have a flag waving contest.”
And we really had one.
Now that’s thinking on her toes.
I wonder what we would have done if an arm had shot out of the curtain holding a jump rope…or a chihuahua.
The MC then says…"Our next performer is something spectacular. You’ve all heard of the amazing Baltista Family…so welcome, Amanda Gazellmo.”
What does that mean?
I thought Aaron was going to fall over.
I had my head buried in Ashton’s back weeping with laugher.
And…Amanda Gazellmo was…yep…you guessed it…the balloon girl, hula porn girl, and the contortionist.
It was like being at a Greater Tuna Circus.
The big finale were the dogs.
There were three of them. One rode a scooter. One jumped over a bar with shiny ribbons on it and one jumped rope.
Then our fun was over.
The kids had a blast.
Aaron will be sore from laughing so hard.
I had to come straight home and take a shower. I really did have some pee on me.
We laughed all the way home.
The kids were killing me recreating the soupus in our car.
We will drive for miles to see our next soupus.
There’s not many things that can make our family laugh so hard, we can’t even talk to each other in the moment.
I left all my mascara on that dirty floor of those fair grounds.
Those Esqueda’s…whew! My face hurts.
Long live the soupus.