Hooray for the Circus McGurkis- We are the free form festival of inclusiveness and imagination that has lured the young and old for more than four decades. After a year to pause and reflect, the Quakers are pleased present a refocused and revamped Circus McGurkis – The Next Generation, Nov 11 from 10-am-4pm at Lakewood United Church of Christ 2601 54th Ave. S. , St Petersburg.
“Many people were dismayed when Circus McGurkis disappeared last year. The event has become an integral part of the St. Pete community, and there are now people bringing their grandchildren who attended when they were children,” said Lynn Carol Henderson, artist/storyteller coordinator, and one of the early organizers of the event.
The 2017 organizers want to make the festival more intimate and manageable and to refocus on the peace and justice messages of not-for-profit groups in our community. That is why the Quakers have expanded their leadership to include diverse organizers from all sectors of the social justice and environmental activist communities and the open and affirming congregation of the Lakewood United Church of Christ who will host the gathering on their wooded parkland in South St Petersburg.
“We are waking up different- bringing Circus McGurkis back to its roots in community activism,” said Henderson. “Circus McGurkis has always been a place where people can come for at least for one day to escape the realities of a harsh world and celebrate peace and social justice with other like-minded people. Of course we will still have the perennial belly dancers and musicians, drummers, poets and storytellers. But at this year’s Circus we will have less commercialism and more learning by doing. Family activities will foster our vision of a just and joyful world and community groups will include interactive hands-on elements at their booths.”
At Circus McGurkis – The Next Generation2017 the role of commercial vendors will be quite different from the past. Vendors who offer services and locally produced, homemade or fair trade goods will partner with not-for- profit groups. Both will share an expanded booth space and vendors will support the activists’ cause with a percentage of their day’s revenue. The not-for profit educational groups will be encouraged to also sell products or services and to donate to the Circus table to help finance the Fair. Henderson calls this the “do well by doing good method.” “This way the volunteers of the not-for-profit community groups and the vendor folks will support one another and everyone will have an opportunity to make new friendships and money that will be reinvested back into the community through the groups’ missions.”
Attendance at Circus is still free and easy and there are no fees for the booths. Space is limited, however, and those interested in exhibiting either as a not-for-profit community group or a vendor who wishes to be partnered, need to sign up soon by e-mail including your name, phone, and description: QuakerCircusMcgurkis@gmail.com.