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Circus brings thrills to Florence

February 4, 2018 GMT

FLORENCE, S.C. — Pee Dee residents were treated to high-flying trapeze acrobatics, rides on exotic animals, and death-defying stunts at the Florence Center on Saturday.

The Royal Hanneford Circus, one of the world’s longest-running circuses, returned to Florence to perform shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Adrian Poema, owner of the circus, said he was excited to bring the three-ring circus back to Florence.

“Our show covers the whole arena and there’s action going on in all three rings,” Poema said. “It’s exciting because for the past 14 years, Florence has only had a one-ring circus come to town. This is a full three-ring production.”

The show included acts from 45 performers including flying trapeze artists, jugglers, clowns, motorcycle riders in the Globe of Death and balancing acrobats.

The circus also had animals including elephants, camels, horses, zebras and a photo-opportunity with a giant snake.

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Poema said the circus travels 10 months out of the year to 32 different states. He said the employees are much more than workers; they are like family.

“My wife and I work side by side running the show,” Poema said. “We’re all like family. That’s why our phrase is ‘our family entertaining your family.’ Every year we have a different show and we’re a very close group of people.”

Trevor Nichols took his two children, 7-year old Christopher and 12-year old Rachel, to the circus on Saturday.

“My favorite part is the animals,” Christopher said.

Rachel had just finished riding on one of the circus’s elephants.

“It was a lot of fun,” Rachel said. “I like getting to ride the elephants and one of my most favorite things is getting a snow cone.”

The Royal Hanneford Circus will conclude with two shows at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are available at the Florence Center box office or online at florencecenter.com.