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Historians say the first American circus performance wowed audiences – including President George Washington – in 1790’s Philadelphia. Today, 234 years later, the big top still tours and wildly talented performers leave us gasping with their acrobatics, skill, daring and pageantry. From June 28 through July 7, 2024, look for the multicolored Shoestring Circus tent as they visit downtown Olympia. Tickets are on sale now for the ultimate in timeless family fun.

Shoestring Circus will set up near the Port of Olympia’s Swantown Marina and Boatworks at Marine Drive NE and Market Street NE. Tickets range from $16  for kids aged 3 to 12 up to $48 for in-your-face front row action.

Two Shoestring Circus performers on a gold ring doing acrobatics while dressed as butterflies
With aerial acts, jugglers, acrobats and so much more, the Shoestring Circus is a family-friendly circus experience for all ages. Photo credit: Josh Lacunha

Circus in Downtown Olympia Brings Family Friendly, All Ages Big Top Fun

Sponsored by the Port of Olympia, Shoestring Circus is a Bellingham-based and artist-owned troupe of full-time traveling performers. Co-owned by Nikki Laumb, Poki McCorkle, Sadye Osterloh and Justin Therrien, 2024’s cast of performers promises a bardcore blast that Laumb says is a “medieval fantasy full of high stakes absurdity, endless spectacle and otherworldly beauty.”

“The Shoestring Circus tent itself has a rich history having toured the world hosting shows from Denmark to California before becoming home to Shoestring Circus in 2022,” Laumb explains. “Shoestring shows offer something new and unique every season and we hope to keep audiences guessing as we build a tour in our home state. Some of the circus acts featured this year include tightwire dancing, flying duo lyra, incredible diabolo juggling and lots of surprises. The storyline has been designed for all ages to enjoy and come along for the ride.”

Laumb and her team have recreated the nostalgic circus atmosphere but with a modern twist. You’ll follow your nose to the luscious smells of popcorn and cotton candy within a tent lit by twinkling lights. At Shoestring Circus, its theater meets spectacle with more than a hefty pinch of magic thrown in.

3 Shoestring Circus performers doing acrobatics
Tickets are on sale now for their first Olympia appearance. Enjoy the timeless lure of the big top, complete with popcorn, cotton candy and twinkling lights. Photo credit: Philip Pavliger

A Circus of Medieval Magic and Fantasy in Olympia

This is Shoestring Circus’s first visit to Olympia and they’re making it a welcoming experience for one and all. Their shows also feature the local puppet troupe String and Shadow and aerial schools Sparrow Studios and Airbound Arts helped spread the word.

That kind of local partnership and industry support is at the heart of Shoestring Circus’s mission. “We are an artist-owned company founded by four friends and performers,” Laumb explains. “Our hope is to find communities that like our style of show and bring them a new production every year to build an annual tradition for friends and families to attend. Everyone that performs in the show also helps in the operating of the show either by building the tent or helping sell popcorn, we work as a team and it’s a very tight ensemble for the season.”

You can find more information about their work, tours and upcoming shows on Facebook and Instagram. There you’ll also find behind-the-scenes videos and images and links to share with friends and family.

Shoestring Circus performer lying on a tightrope holding a suitcase and dressed like an old fashioned bellhop
Shoestring Circus Shows take place from Friday, June 28 through Sunday, July 7, 2024, and are a great way to kick off the magic of summer. Photo credit: Rae Candent

Kick-Off Summer with the Magic and Mystery of Shoestring Circus

Tickets for their Olympia performances are selling out fast so get yours today. Whether general admission seating or a front-row splurge, everyone is sure to have a wonderful night, transported to days of jesters, knights, royalty, magic and mystery. With a little popcorn, of course.

These days, entertainment changes quickly. The delights of our childhood may be gone, or irreparably different, by the time we want to share them with our kids. But the magic of the circus, whatever that troupe’s theme, specialty or storyline, is a timeless joy. Thanks to Shoestring Circus, it can become part of your family’s kickoff to summer year after year. It may even inspire a visit to one of our aerial schools that teach acrobatics, trapeze and circus arts for hopefuls of all ages and abilities. Give it a try!

Get your tickets to the Shoestring Circus online.

2024 Shoestring Circus Showtimes

Friday, June 28 at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 29 at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. 
Sunday, June 30 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Thursday, July 4 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Friday, July 5 at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. 
Saturday, July 6 at 1 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 7 at 1 p.m.

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