Circus performers, fire jugglers take over the Hudson Valley

| 31 May 2013 | 11:24

Two events inspired by circuses of old will take place Friday, June 21, through Sunday, June 23, at two Historic Hudson Valley sites.

A band of fire jugglers will light up Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow during A Night on Fire, Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22. Expanded this year to four performances over two evenings, A Night on Fire debuted last year to a sold out crowd.

Performed by the juggling and comedy troupe A Different Spin, “A Night on Fire” will feature stunts and family friendly humor and is ideal for audiences of all ages. Performances take place at 8:15 and 10 p.m.

This one-hour performance is a fully choreographed, live display of fire arts featuring four flame-wielding, fire-eating performers twisting and turning, juggling and dancing, spinning and sword fighting. The vaudeville-meets-funk sounds of Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band kicks off the show.

Though it is a separate ticketed performance, “A Night on Fire” is a complement to Animals & Acrobats, which takes place 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson on Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23.

Featuring a variety of performers and animal conservation groups, Animals & Acrobats evokes an early-American traveling circus. An ambassador wolf, stilt-dancers, soaring acrobats, gargantuan puppets, and the chance to hone your circus skills are some of the event’s highlights.

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 — A professional troupe melding daring stunts and comedy, offering a wide range of circus magic including high-flying acrobatics, stilt-dancing, and gargantuan puppets who roam the crowd, plus contortionists who squeeze themselves into the tightest of spaces.

Westchester Circus Arts — Kids can learn to act like clowns, walk on a tight-wire, juggle, spin plates and walk on stilts.

Two by Two Zoo and the Wolf Conservation Center — Groups that teach conservation lessons with fascinating wildlife. Ambassador wolf Atka, hopping kangaroos, flying lemurs, 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, slack rope walker Dikki Ellis, Chris Yerlig as Hoopoe the Mime, and juggler Will Shaw.

Visitors who purchase tickets for Animals & Acrobats in advance online can get free popcorn for everyone under 18 in their party. Geordane’s of Irvington will provide picnic food and beverages. Blue Pig of Croton provides homemade ice cream featuring ingredients from Hudson Valley sources.

Tickets for A Night on Fire are $20 for adults and $15 for children 17 and under. Members of Historic Hudson Valley, the non-profit education and preservation organization that owns and operates Van Cortlandt Manor and Philipsburg Manor, receive a $5 per ticket discount. Tickets for Animals & Acrobats are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, $12 for children 3-17, free for children under three and HHV members. Tickets are available in advance online at

Philipsburg Manor is at 381 North Broadway (Route 9) in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. Van Cortlandt Manor is at 525 South Riverside Avenue in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Take the Croton Point Avenue exit from Route 9 and follow the signs. For information contact 914-631-8200 or