Lion tamer: You've got to know when they're having a bad day
WITH its $250,000 tent and bright lights at Gladstone's showground it's clear Lennon Bros circus is in town.
Although numbers have been slightly down this year, Warren Lennon said the first week was all about setting up and letting people know you were in town.
He said this week bookings had improved and he was hoping to average about 450 people per show.
Although the former lion tamer, clown and wheel-of-death performer rarely steps into the ring these days he said it was good to provide entertainment for people to "to take their minds off some of their problems".
"All businesses are down a little and a lot of shops are closed ... but our numbers aren't down much at all," Mr Lennon said.
"But it's the same as the other towns like Mackay, Townsville, Moranbah and Emerald."
The Lennon Bros circus has been operating since 1893 and, apart from taking 18 months off to take up a job driving trucks, Mr Lennon said he had been involved with the circus his whole life.
He was even been bitten by a lion after "giving too much attention to the brother (of an 11-month-old cub) she didn't like that and came up and put her teeth through my hand".
"You've got to respect them (but) they are so much like a household cat and it's just that they're so big," he said.
"They're well looked after but you've got know when they're having a bad day.
"It takes a lot of time, patience and rewards to train them."
They also don't come cheaply, chowing through 10kg to 12kg of beef every two days.
Mr Lennon said most people loved to come to the circus to see the animals and, with three lions, three camels, two miniature donkeys, six ponies and 10 dogs, Gladstone residents would not be disappointed.
There are also about 20 workers that follow the show around, with acrobats, flying trapeze artists, clowns and contortionists among them.
"When I come in to the show I rarely watch the acts," Mr Lennon said.
"I watch the audience ... and it's good to see the kids enjoying themselves.
"It's family entertainment and there's something for everyone but I just love it," he said.
The circus has shows on Wednesday and Thursday at 6pm; Friday at 7pm; Saturday at 2pm and 6pm; and on Sunday at 11am and 2pm.