A Las Vegas based circus rich with family history has set up their bigtop in Port Alberni for the first time ever.
The animal-free, human acrobatic show is run by brothers, Roberto, Franciso and Leoncio Osorio, and will be in town on Thursday, July 14 through Monday, July 18.
Circus Osorio began more than 100 years ago when Roberto Osorio’s great, great-grandfather ran away to join the circus after falling in love with a trapeze girl who came to his town in Mexico to perform.
“Three times his father brought him back from doing that,” Osorio said. “On the third try they stuck him in the Mexican military for a three year stint, which was good for him because it taught him how to read and write.”
This was in the late 1800’s and Osorio said once his great, great-grandfather got out of the army he never looked back and followed his passion for the circus.
Osorio’s father, Herminio Osorio, took over the family business, with his brothers, and began running one of the oldest circuses in Mexico that has been in existence for more than 90 years.
“Fast forward a couple more years and my father brought us up to the states to become doctors and lawyers. He didn’t want us to be in the circus anymore,” Osorio said.
Osorio’s mother, Rosabelia, was an American citizen who immigrated the family to San Antonio, Texas in attempts to live the American dream.
Herminio Osario got a job as a mechanic but would continue to practice circus tricks in their backyard. One day a Polish neighbor of the Osorio’s came by the house and warned Herminio that his kids could get into trouble in the United States if they are given too much freedom. The neighbor said he saw an add in the local newspaper that a trampoline was being given away for free and offered to help the family pick it up.
The Osorio brothers began learning how to do acrobatics in the backyard and eventually began working with various circuses around the United States as high-wire performers.
After close to 18 years performing on the high wire, The Osorio brothers ended their career with Circus Circus in Las Vegas, which was considered a very prestigious circus.
“We worked there for about 10 years and we decided when they transferred us to Vegas that we were going to open up our own circus here in the States and now it’s been about 20 years,” Osorio said.
Osorio now does magic, with assistance from his 12-year-old niece, in the show while also running the day-to-day operations for the circus.
Shows will take place weekday evenings with matinees at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are available around town and at the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, which is co-sponsoring the event with the city’s parks, recreation and heritage department.