According to our calculations, 1991 was approximately 29 years ago. Still, it may as well be 129 years ago when you’re watching this 1991 WMVS broadcast of Milwaukee’s then-popular Great Circus Parade. Circuses? Parades? Crowds of people packed shoulder-to-shoulder on Wisconsin Avenue? WEIRD.
The Great Circus Parade was held in Milwaukee 30 times between the years 1963 and 2009. It was a fundraiser for the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and a deliberate throwback to circus parades of the 19th century. But all good things that feature caged and terrified animals must come to an end; The Shepherd Express has more on the parade’s eventual demise:
The resurrection of the parade in Milwaukee lasted through 2003, when funding problems again put the event on hiatus. A version of the parade was held in Baraboo in 2004 and 2005, but continued money problems shut the parade down entirely. In 2009, using money from a “rainy day fund” built up by organizers between 1985 and 2003 as well as a new fundraising drive, the parade was revived in Milwaukee once again. The return of the parade was much heralded and 92-year-old Ernest Borgnine revived his role for the event. But even before the circus train arrived in Milwaukee, organizers announced that the event would not return in 2010. It has not returned since.
Exclusive articles, podcasts, and more. Support Milwaukee Record on Patreon.