State fair ringmaster visits Oak Cliff Thursday

Bill Carpenter, the longtime ringmaster for the Backyard Circus at the State Fair of Texas, visits Oak Cliff Thursday. Meet at Cafe Brazil in Bishop Arts at 7:30 p.m., and Carpenter will start talking and telling stories at 8.

Carpenter lives in New York, and he has served as ringmaster of the circus for over 20 years. He started a nonprofit, Midway Caravan, in 1972 to bring his backyard circus to fairs and carnivals all over the country.

Oak Cliff resident Scott Coleman invited Carpenter to give the presentation in Oak Cliff. He and his wife met Carpenter a few years ago and found him fascinating.

“We were almost immediately astounded at the depth of why he does the circus and why he does it the way that he does,” Coleman says.

Coleman created a website to publicize the ringmaster’s visit: “Entertaining kids brings him delight.  But his philosophical underpinnings go much deeper, drawing on the power of community, imagination, play and creativity.”

The conversation with the ringmaster Thursday will be on the patio at Cafe Brazil. It’s free and open to the public.


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  • Sally

    My family loves the Backyard Circus.  It was our State Fair tradition for many years.  Our Butterfly Ballerina is in her 3rd year of college and our Daredevil, who was shot out of that little cannon into his father’s arms, is 6’1″.  Every year we still stop by and say hello to Bill even without the kids. Great memories!  Thank you, Bill!