The circus is coming to town to celebrate the opening of Bowling Green’s newest park.
Circus Square Park, between College and State streets, will officially open Friday with a ribbon cutting, speeches, flag-raising ceremony and activation of the park’s fountain.
The $2.4 million park will then feature a traveling circus troupe Saturday in an homage to the park’s name.
Friday’s opening is slated to begin at 4 p.m. with speeches from Kentucky House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, Sen. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., followed by the ribbon cutting and fountain activation.
Saturday, the park will feature circus performers from the Tennessee-based Colorful Hat Circus. Free performances are scheduled for 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Throughout the park that day, food, games, children’s activities and wandering jugglers and clowns will carry on the circus theme.
The park got its name after an 1800s map of Bowling Green was found with the area now featuring the park designated as the “circus lot.”
“People have told me when they were very little they attended circuses there,” said Cheryl Blaine, director of the Downtown Redevelopment Authority.
A circus seemed like a natural way to open the park, but there was a hitch.
“We didn’t know what we were going to do because we didn’t have enough funds (to bring in a circus),” she said.
Allied Energy, however, agreed to underwrite much of the cost.
“Allied Energy really stepped to the plate,” Blaine said.
The Colorful Hat Circus features aerial acts, trapeze artists, acrobats, contortionists and clowns.
Last week, final landscaping touches, cleaning and adjustments to the fountain were taking place, according to Emmett Wood, city public works director.
The park’s Friday opening culminates more than 10 months of work, that, despite more than 60 construction days lost to rain, is being completed on schedule.
“Right now, we need that rain, and we don’t have it,” said Tom Clayton, the city’s project manager on Circus Square.
His crews were busy last week replacing some patches of dead grass and performing final touch-ups on the park.
Clayton said the project was “99.9 percent” done last week and the fence surrounding the park was slated to come down Monday or Tuesday.
Starting in July, Circus Square Park will join Fountain Square Park for Friday night concerts. The first Circus Square concert will be at 6:30 p.m. July 11, featuring the Ernie Small Blues Band. Rock band Black Velvet will perform that night at Fountain Square Park.
— For more information, call 782-0222.