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
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
The Gathering is the major networking event for fans,
performers, dealers, historians and
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
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
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
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!
after several years was 26in tall Miss Firefly the gal who
eats fire and dances on glass. She was in demand for photo
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.
Steve Hyde & Melaine wowed the spectators with their amazing
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
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
And the biggest shock of all was the registration fee for all
of this was only $15 for the three days!
courtesy of Mitchell Klein