By JENNY FENIAK, SUN MEDIA
Always a favourite with kids and families, the annual Shrine Circus is coming back to town.
The Al Shamal Shriners of Edmonton and Northlands Alberta formally announced the 61st Edmonton Shrine Circus during a press conference yesterday at Rexall Place.
Happening Mar. 20 through 22 at Rexall Place, the Edmonton Shrine Circus will erupt under the big top with ringmaster Devin Chandler at centre stage.
Favourite circus acts such as Piolita the clown, the Liberty Horses and the Ponderous Performing Pachyderms will be returning along with spectacular aerial artistry and other acrobatics.
The Shrine Circus is the primary fundraising avenue for the Shriners, whose main objective is providing medical care at no cost for children up to the age of 18.
"We treat such conditions as cleft lip and palate repair, spinal bifida, cerebral palsy, scoliosis, bone diseases, hip deformities, burn scar revision, club foot, neck problems, bowed legs, juvenile arthritis and more," says Barry Miller, this year's head of Al Shamal.
Almost 240 Alberta children, 125 in Edmonton alone, benefit from the Shriners' philanthropy. Gogal explained funds raised this year will go towards establishing a Shriners Hospitals for Children Pediatric Scoliosis Research Chair at the U of A's School of Medicine as well as an endowment fund at the Stollerys Children's Hospital and a Shriners wing at the Glenrose Hospital.
The Shriners do not use telephone solicitation to sell tickets and instead rely on Ticketmaster and Canada Safeway, which sells tickets in its stores. Tickets for the 2009 Shrine Circus go on sale today at 10 a.m. and purchases through Ticketmaster can be done at any outlet, online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by calling 780-451-8000.