James "Shocked & Amazed" Taylor and I attended the Ninth Annual Sideshow Gathering Nov.5th - 7th. It was held in Wilkes Barre PA in conjunction with the Inkin' the Valley Tattoo Convention.
 
Over the three days we witnessed dozens of sensational and dangerous acts as entertainers swallowed swords, ate light bulbs, laid on beds of spikes, bull whipped, danced on broken glass, pushed pins through their skins, stuck their hands in animal traps, and risked bodily harm just to entertain over a thousand attendees.


The Gathering is the major networking event for fans, performers, dealers, historians and
collectors.
 
This year A.W. Stencell, showman, historian and author of "Circus and Carnival Ballyhoo" received the 2010 Ambassador of Wonder Award from convention founder and director Franco Kossa.
 
Another highlight this year was the "Human Blockhead Record" which was broken when 36 participants hammered objects into their heads! It got great newspaper coverage.


Another first, two of the acts, newly weds Crispy and Delia Deadgirl were each honeymooning with their partners at the gathering!
 
The entire sideshow portion of the event was MC'ed by super showman Tyler Fyre.


All of the performances were great but there were several stand outs for me.


Tyler Frye and Thrill Kill Jill's knife throwing act and Jill's snake act with two boa constrictors were gasp inducing.
 
Olde City's Sideshow's Reggie Bugmuncher and her gut suck routine was a seldom seen act. Martin Ling's tongue in the electric fan and Danny Borneo's electric drill blockhead provided thrills.
 
Cheeky Monkey Sideshow's swami Yomahmi and Mr. Eon's comic hoop routine was an original. The best dancing on glass bit I have ever seen was performed by droll Mab just Mab. The cute Darwin Sisters were a new and clever edition to the troupe. The entire cast now ends their show with a catchy song!
 
New this year from Hollywood was Rev. Tommy Gunn and Miss Malice Aforethought.
That guy can really talk. They are currently in the mist of their 8 month long "I Invented the Sideshow Tour."
 
It was a treat to see the multi-talented Magic Brian return after several years. His outrageous comedy magic and sideshow stunts were crowd pleasers. His "Nigel Blackstorm the Heavy Metal Magician" brought down the house! Most of Brian's time is spent overseas where he has performed in 14 countries. He is tops in talent!
 

Also returning after several years was 26in tall Miss Firefly the gal who eats fire and dances on glass. She was in demand for photo shoots.


Chris McDaniel the one-man Wild West show and star of stage and screen lassoed his way into the hearts of his audience. What a showman!
 
Patrick O'Brien, bagpiper, was a welcomed musical interlude.
 
I won't forget Coney Island Chris and his "breaking the egg "routine soon. Side splitting comedy at its best!
 

Mr. Crispy shocked by lifting weights attached to his nipples.

   

Convention Founder and Director

 Franco Kossa.

 

Harley Newman, Steve Hyde & Melaine wowed the spectators with their amazing escapes
Routines Doc Wilson baffled with his super memory acts and street magic. His "candy pitch" was fun!
 
Dash Rippington performed his straitjacket escape standing barefooted in a heap of broken glass! Is he dangerously stupid or stupidly dangerous?
 
Professor Sprocket, talker of renown introduced a mermaid.
 
Professor Fountain walked the sword ladder. A classic well done.
 
Steve Pittella and Walt Hudson exhibited the Electric Gal and Gal Without A Middle illusions.
 
Col. Hunsley shared his freak animal show.
 
Bob Blackmar, Rob Houston, Jim Mundie, James Taylor, Stan Mayre, and Diane Falk shared sideshow history There was even a sideshow auction.
 
And the biggest shock of all was the registration fee for all of this was only $15 for the three days!

 

Photographs courtesy of Mitchell Klein
 


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