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Datebook: Gamma Phi Circus Returns To Uptown's Sweet Corn Circus

Sweet Corn Circus 3.jpg
A Gamma Phi Circus member performs at the Sweet Corn Circus in 2019.

It's that special time of year when a festival comes along and unites two central Illinois powerhouses: corn and the circus.

The Sweet Corn Circus festival is back for 2021, and Illinois State University's circus troupe is ready to perform in Uptown Normal during the event that began on Saturday and continues on Sunday, Aug. 29.

Gamma Phi Circus directors Ivan Stoinev, Marcus Alouan, and Rainie Themer are sharing in the same excitement that some of their Gamma Phi students have been expressing for this event.

"It's the first in-person performance that we've had since January 2020," Themer said.

Added Alouan: "Most of the students that will be performing haven't had the opportunity to be a part of the Sweet Corn Circus before. They are very excited."

Gamma Phi Circus has plans to immerse those young, old, and in between with activities and stations for festivalgoers to experience some circus arts, while also getting souvenir trading cards.

"We are covering the whole Uptown Normal area, even on the streets ... and have the opportunity for kids or adults to try a different circus skill," said Stoinev.

"There's an opportunity to try juggling, to walk on a tight wire, to try spinning poi, which is something a lot of people will recognize once they see it and get excited to try," said Alouan.

And the excitement doesn't stop there, because to conclude both days, there's a full Gamma Phi Circus performance — with a new act.

Pairing the corn provided by Maddox Sweet Corn Farm with the Gamma Phi Circus is going to make for a great event.

"The Town of Normal wanted to encompass that in this festival to really recognize our agricultural roots and our circus roots," said Themer.

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