Irem Shrine Circus Comes to Town

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa -- Tigers doing tricks is just one of the many things you'll see at the 70th annual Irem Shrine Circus.

"I really, really like the animals here and I like how they act," Miley Sarochinsky of Hanover Township said.

Everyone has their favorite part of the event.

"I would say the acrobatics," Amie Oshinski of Hanover Township said. "I love the animals (and) seeing the animals. I saw the elephant. I was like, 'Oh, my God!'"

The event is held at the 109th Field Artillery Armory in Luzerne County each year. It is a fundraiser for The Shriner's organization, which helps sick children.

"The money that we raise here goes to the uniform units so that we can buy our outfits, pay our insurance, fix our vehicles, attend the parades," Irem Shrine Circus Usher Chairman John Richards said. "So we can generate money from those events to support our mission of transporting kids to the Shriner's hospitals."

Outside of the circus, a group of about a dozen protesters gathered to express their concern for the treatment of the circus animals.

"People now realize that wild animals do not belong in circuses and that's why it's changing," Voice of the Animals President Silvie Pomicter said. "That's why circuses are closing down and eventually they will be nonexistent, but it will take a little while to do that."

The Shriners tell Newswatch 16 that the animals are well cared for.

"As far as abusing animals, that does not occur here," Richards said. "These are wild animals. They are trained. They are not tamed. That's why these performers are very protective of their animals."

The circus will run all week long at the armory. The Shriners said they always look forward to the event because it brings so much joy to the families who go.

"I was invited by my friend, which I was totally stoked about because I haven't been to the circus since I was like six," Oshinski said. "So this is like really exciting."

Click here for a list of the Irem Shrine Circus shows.

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