logo used with permission from Illinois
State University’s Special Collections, Milner Library


Trapeze Capital of the World

See the “Convention Info” menu tab for details


C.F.A. 2018 – Beyond Normal!
        The Circus Fans Association of America is delighted to announce plans for their annual convention in Normal, Illinois April 18-22, 2018!
        There will be a whirlwind of activities and speakers in this central Illinois community once known around the world as “The Trapeze Capital of the World!”  Circus stars of yesterday, today, and tomorrow will be present – Tito and Richie Gaona top this impressive list — and thrills beyond imagination will bring enthusiasm and energy to the hearts of “ladies and gentlemen… and children of all ages!”
        Convention goers will be immersed in circus from beginning to end.  Films like “The Flight Fantastic,” a documentary about the Gaonas, produced by the award-winning Tom Moore, will be shown in Normal’s historic Art Deco theater (a Q & A session will follow the film) on ThursdayThursday’s luncheon will feature James Judkins, the new owner of the Kelly Miller Circus with all your questions answered.
        Speakers will educate as well as entertain.  Some of them include:  Keith Webb with his experiences with his family on the Russell Bros. Circus; Cherie Valentine will talk about her family’s glorious historical involvement in circus;  John ad Donna Ward Skura will speak on The Flying Wards; Eric Willey with Son of Bloomington, Pawnee Bill;  Candace Summers will inform the audience how this community delights in keeping our circus memories alive;   Mr. Andres Atayde on Circuses in Latin America; Maureen Brunsdale and Mark Schmitt will speak about how this community became “trapeze capital,” and a special presentation by our Animal Welfare committee.   Internationally heralded trapeze historian, Steve Gossard, will introduce the brothers Gaona at the banquet on Friday evening and then convention goers will hear these legends speak about their careers!
    And of course, what would a CFA convention be without a reception, banquet and auction – it is all planned and waiting for you.
        Opportunity will be provided to tour Milner Library on the campus of Illinois State University where a circus themed exhibit will be displayed.  Special Collections in Milner Library, home of the Circus & Allied Arts Collection, will throw open its doors to welcome visitors.
        Last, but certainly FAR from the least, Gamma Phi Circus will round out the convention on Saturday evening.  The longest-running collegiate circus in the United States (started by Clifford “Pop” Horton in 1929!), will be sure to astound all while creating memories that will be live for years and years to come!!
        These activities — and so much more — will surely be enjoyed by all!  To register please use the registration form here or in the next White Tops.
                                                                                                                 Note:  Hotel CFA rate good until March 14

cfa_saleOur Membership Task Force has been hard at work, addressing and taking action toward attracting new members into the CFA. 

grassroots-link2Stay up to date on CFA Calls for Action!

Latest CFA grassroots items are listed here.  The Circus needs your help!

We who love the circus, bind ourselves together as a nonprofit organization to make an organized effort to create interest in the circus as an institution.

We believe in the circus as an important part of the performing arts and having great education values. We dedicate ourselves together in the hope of forming fast friendship s and to make an organized effort to assist all circuses. We further dedicate ourselves to preserve for future generations, this beloved institution known as the CIRCUS.

As a member of CFA, you will receive six issues a year of our magazine, The White Tops. In addition to organizational information, The White Tops contains columns about current circus acts, show locations, management shifts, marketing strategies, births and deaths. 


Photo by Paul Gutheil

Recent issues of The White Tops have detailed the glory days of the Ringling show when it traveled on giant trains in the late 1940s and ’50s: featured circus reviews, Tent/Top News, and convention information, profiled great animal trainers, and the varied entertainment of showmanship skills only the circus has to offer.

CFA members gather at an annual convention. This circus star-studded affair is always held in conjunction with a performing circus. Circus personnel attend our sessions, socialize and participate in seminars. We discuss circus skills, marketing. animal training and care, how to move a circus, how to feed a circus, and the art of collecting those glorious circus posters.

You can see, we are friendly folks, bound by an ever fascinating common interest – the most colorful, and exciting hobby in the world – The CIRCUS!


photo by Paul Gutheil


Latest Posts

Since 1926

Visit original site


Follow us on Facebook

The CFA March


CFA Grassroots

CFA Merchandise