The Circus Returns to Fort Wayne

Children and adults alike can experience the awe, wonder and thrill of the circus from Jan. 26-28 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, 4000 Parnell Ave.

The Mizpah Shrine Circus, held annually in Fort Wayne, promises family-friendly entertainment from start to finish, says Mike Hardiek, member of the Mizpah Shrine Circus Committee. Five shows in total take place Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 10 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

“All too often, kids are happy to bury their faces in an electronic device. This is an opportunity for them to become immersed in a real-life adventure that is full of wonder,” Hardiek says. “They can interact with performers and come to believe anything is possible.

This an experience that they can share with others.”

The circus promises the traditional acts people expect to see at a circus such as clowns, trapeze artists and high-wire performers, as well as “thrill acts” such as motorcyclists who are performing exciting stunts. The show lasts approximately 2 hours with a 15-minute intermission, but Hardiek recommends arriving an hour before showtime and staying an hour after to enjoy the Free Circus Fair, taking place in the lower level of the Coliseum.

The Free Circus Fair features face painting, a petting zoo, bounce house, pony rides and an electric car track.

“Unfortunately, there are fewer events every year that can be enjoyed as a family,” Hardiek says. “For 77 years, the Mizpah Shriners have been proud to host an experience that offers something for all ages. From kids through the grandparents, everyone will be on the edge of their seats. We are committed to changing with the times to continue to support this worthy event.”

Photos are allowed before, during and after the performance, however, flash photography during the show is prohibited.

Tickets start at $16 and can be purchased online through Ticketmaster or at the Memorial Coliseum box office. Children under age 2 do not require a ticket. Handicapped seating is available to those who purchase the option, and group/corporate rates are available by calling the box office. Parking is $8 per vehicle paid to the attendant in the Coliseum parking lot.

Proceeds from the circus benefit the Mizpah Shrine.

Shriners International is a fraternity based on fun, fellowship and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief and truth. Members are known for their philanthropy to Shriners Children’s, one of the largest pediatric sub-specialty health care systems in the world with locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The Mizpah Shrine began in 1909 and represents 22 Northeast Indiana counties and nearly 1,500 Shrine-Masons.

“We strive to be crystal clear that the revenue from the circus does not go directly to the Shrine Hospitals for Children. We would never want to mislead the community that supports us,” Hardiek explains. “Instead, the proceeds are used to pay the operational costs of our facility in Fort Wayne and help us offset the cost of the work we do right here in Northeast Indiana.”

For more information about the circus, visit or call the ticket office at (260) 234-2172.