The Big Apple Circus – much more than an event once a year!

Did you go to the circus last year? It was our first time and I was so touched by how happy my family was, that I reached out to the team that brings us the Big Apple Circus every year to let them know how special it was for us.   With that one simple gesture, I was invited in to see what a special world the Big Apple Circus really is!  I want to tell you about it since this is not just a day’s event to go and enjoy.  The Big Apple Circus is a non-profit organization that travels around the country and brings joy to children – ALL children.

I went this week to experience the Circus of the Senses – without my kids.  I was invited to see this 1 show that they put on every year in major cities, free of charge, for children with hearing and vision impairments and other disabilities along with their teachers, families, and caregivers.  Only 1 show in NYC!  You can see a video below.

I found my way to Lynn Stirrup the Executive Director.  I was in tears after watching children in the touch session approach the ring master to feel his top hat, his coat, and the buttons unable to see that the hat was black, the coat was red and the buttons gold.  (The ring master was wiping away tears too.)  They were experiencing the character after hearing the description via a narrated headset during the abbreviated Luminocity show (which happens to be a new show for the circus this year).  I told Lynn that everyone has seen the joyful ads around town for the Big Apple Circus but I wanted to tell the mitzvah story!  Please watch the video below to see how lucky you are and how you can see how lucky families who need to smile are with access to the circus’s community programs!

If you want to get to know the circus organization better, buy your tickets for the Family Benefit on Nov. 16th starting at 3:30.  Tickets start at $25/child and goes up in pricing for a variety of VIP benefits.  You can learn more at

I also wanted to do my part to spread the word about the demand and opportunity for the circus to make more children feel good.  While there is only 1 show each season for children with special needs, they would like to be able to have 3 Circus of the Senses shows each season.  They need $75,000 per show donated so they can block out show times, pay the performers, and provide seats not just for the children with social needs but for their ENTIRE CLASS!  I was so moved when a circus team member told me that while often these children are singled out for being different, the Circus for the Senses shifts the focus and the children who are in the inclusion classes begin to see their classmate as the wonderful “reason” they were able to go see the circus in the middle of their school day!  What a wonderful spot for these children to be in!  So please think about your children, your friends, and your companies and think about if there is anyone who can make a donation individually or with a group to add additional shows in NYC in the future.  On the Upper West Side alone, we have many special needs schools and programs.  Think about the wonderful support local churches and synagogues offer now for families with special needs and imagine them enjoying the circus just like other kids and families do.

To read more about the Big Apple Circus’s meaningful community programs, click below:

You may want a tissue before you watch this video.  The gentleness and compassion of the founders is heart warming.

I encourage you to read my review of the circus from last year.  You’ll learn that you should plan to go an hour early for extra fun plus a lot more!


About valeriegerstein

A former online media professional, I am home, on the Upper West Side, with my 2 gorgeous girls, Mia and Liza and their wonderful Daddy, Mark.
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One Response to The Big Apple Circus – much more than an event once a year!

  1. Pingback: The Big Apple Circus – who loves it more, your kids or you? | The Blog for families on the Upper West Side

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