MOUNT CARMEL — The entrance to Mount Carmel had a new feature Tuesday — a rather large blue tent.

Over 100 local first grade students watched that morning as the Big Top was raised for the Kelly Miller Circus.

In addition, they learned all about several exotic animals including elephants, a zebra and camels. Trainers educated the student about how the circus cares for its animals, from nutrition to grooming to exercise. The trainers said their two Asian elephants can live to be 75-years-old, which is older than if they were to live in the wild.

Members of the circus were also on hand to describe their everyday lives. Their day starts at 6 a.m., whether it's traveling to a new town or beginning the set up for performances. One cook prepares all of the meals for the crews and performers, who come from a multitude of different countries including Mexico and Ireland.

The current owner of the Kelly Miller Circus, John Ringling North II, is the nephew of John Ringling North, who was the president and director of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1937 to 1943 and from 1947 to 1967.

Students were invited to participate in elephant, camel and pony rides that afternoon at the midway before the shows began.

The Kelly Miller Circus, sponsored by Wayne and Mary Lou Walden of The Corner Apparel, had two performances Tuesday evening, one at 4:30 and the other at 7:30 p.m.

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