Traveling Circus Takes Over Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, 5/26-28

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Traveling Circus Takes Over Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, 5/26-28

An ambassador wolf, stilt-dancers, fire jugglers, gargantuan puppets, and the chance to become a circus star are some of the highlights at Animals & Acrobats at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson.

A Memorial Day weekend tradition led by Ringmaster Jonathan Kruk, the event evokes an early-American traveling circus and will take over Van Cortlandt Manor, a historic site owned by Historic Hudson Valley, May 26-28, 10-5pm each day.

“We put so much into this weekend that I’m sure we rival the best traveling circuses from years gone by,” said Althea Corey, site director of Van Cortlandt Manor.

In America’s early days, fire jugglers, tumbling acrobats, rope walkers, magicians — indeed, clever characters of all sorts — used to travel the countryside as a ragged band of entertainers, setting up shop at various locales.

Animals & Acrobats features continuous performances. Acts include:

* Boston Circus Guild — This professional troupe offers a wide range of circus magic including high-flying acrobatics, stilt-dancing (not walking, dancing!), and gargantuan puppets who roam the crowd. Contortionists who squeeze themselves into the tightest of spaces round out the group’s roster.

* Circus Arts Camp — Kids can learn to walk on a low-wire, ride a unicycle, juggle, spin plates and walk on stilts!

* Museum of Curiosities — Visitors can be awed by a giant mastodon, an Invisible Lady, and a Cabinet of Natural History featuring taxidermy specimens on loan from Teatown Lake Reservation.

* A Different Spin — Formed at Vassar College, this group melds juggling, daring acrobatics, and comedy.

* Two by Two Zoo and the Wolf Conservation Center — These groups teach conservation lessons with fascinating wildlife. Ambassador wolf Atka, hopping kangaroos, flying lemurs, hilarious monkeys, pythons, parrots, and goats are some of their traveling stars.

Other performers include Jennifer Pena’s birds-of-prey demonstration Flight of the Raptor, The Acrobrats, slack rope walker Dikki Ellis, Chris Yerlig as Hoopoe the Mime, fire juggler Will Shaw, Fred Greenspan’s Punch & Judy puppet show, magician Bob Olson, and musician Jim Keyes.

Visitors who purchase tickets in advance online can get free popcorn for everyone under 18 in their party. Geordane’s of Irvington will provide picnic food and beverages. Visitors may also order an entire picnic in advance online, complete with tablecloth! Blue Pig of Croton provides homemade ice cream featuring ingredients from Hudson Valley sources.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for children 3-17, free for children under three and HHV members.

Van Cortlandt Manor is at 525 South Riverside Avenue (off Route 9) in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Take the Croton Point Avenue exit from Route 9 and follow the signs. For information: 914-631-8200, www.hudsonvalley.org.

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