Under the big top

The Midian Shrine Circus is in town this weekend for seven performances at Intrust Bank Arena. Here's some of what you'll see if you go:

1) Just as in years past, kids can go into the circus rings before each show and during intermission to ride an elephant , take photos with the clowns, ride a pony or play on the moonwalk. Most of the activities have a charge.

2) Clowns will keep the crowd entertained with comic antics, pratfalls and good-natured audience interaction. Shriner clowns will be on hand during the performances to launch free circus T-shirts into the crowd. Shriners also will begin each show by riding into the center ring on 14 Harley Davidson motorcycles in a noisy, light-filled spectacle that has become a Shrine tradition.

3) Each performance features activities in three rings, sometimes simultaneously. Acts include elephants, trapeze artists, clowns and, this year, a new goat act that circus officials promise will keep audiences enthralled.

4) The first performance this weekend is attended primarily by thousands of schoolchildren from Wichita and surrounding towns who get in free thanks to the Midian Shrine. During the final performance at 6 p.m. Sunday, a local radio personality will give Spanish-language commentary during the show. Shrine officials are hoping for a total attendance of about 40,000 people.

Circus performances will be at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. today; 10 a.m., 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday at Intrust Bank Arena, 500 E. Waterman. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children; reserved seats are $5 more. Tickets are available at the arena box office or Select-A-Seat outlets.