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Circus World elephants to attend Baraboo sculpture unveiling, watermelon party

August 2, 2018

Circus World’s elephants have a busy weekend in store for them.

The pachyderms will attend an unveiling ceremony for a new elephant sculpture at 2 p.m. Saturday at Myron Park followed by a watermelon party at 2:45 p.m. at the Baraboo museum Saturday and Sunday.

The Baraboo Public Art Association commissioned Iowa metal artist Larry Pearson to build the second Myron Park elephant statue after receiving a special donation from Lucille Henry. The 96-year-old Oak Park Place resident donated $12,000 to help build the 9-foot-tall, 1,500-pound steel sculpture. Community leaders plan to name it Lucy in her honor.

After the sculpture dedication, the pachyderms will participate in Circus World’s fourth annual watermelon party. During the event, attendees can expect to see the three Asian elephants up close as they squash and devour whole watermelons.

“We spend a lot of time working on the promotions and on the performance elements and restoration elements, but sometimes the most special moments are the ones that you can’t script that are the most pure,” said Circus World Executive Director Scott O’Donnell. “When you see them do the big squish on the watermelon and you hear the chorus of ‘whoa,’ it really doesn’t matter what age you are.”

Circus World is the summer home of elephants, Lisa, Becky and Traci. Their trainer, Armando Loyal, said the girls weigh about 8,000 pounds and eat between 300 and 450 pounds of food each day. While they all enjoy watermelon, he said they have different preferences when it comes to treats, and one is a bit of a finicky eater.

“We give them apples, bananas, carrots, celery, lettuce — a variety of fruits and vegetables, but Lisa’s the picky one,” he said. “They have different taste buds just like people.”

Circus World also will host a classic car show Sunday that will feature between 80 and 100 automobiles on display on flat bed train cars and other areas across the museum grounds. O’Donnell said museum leaders decided the vintage vehicles would fit well with the summer’s 1950s circus theme.

“We’re excited about that because nothing captures the look of the decade more than the fins on those cars,” he said. “It’s going to have the ‘American Graffiti’ vibe here on the grounds with the cars all over the place and everyone in their bowling shirts cruising the grounds.”

Loyal said he’s looking forward to seeing the reaction from guests when they see the elephants squash the watermelons for the first time. He said it’s fortunate watermelon will be available for guests as well because it might make them hungry for their own slice.

“After they see these guys eat watermelon, they’ll definitely want some,” he said. “The kids get a kick out of it, and at the end of the day that’s what makes it all worth it.”

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