By Roni Java
Come one, come all and prepare to be dazzled by three nighttime shows of aerial feats, fire displays, stilt-walkers and more when Quircus lights up the Plumas-Sierra County Fair July 28-30.
All-ages spectacular this week
Beginning at 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday night (and 9:30 p.m. Saturday), just inside the front gates of the fair off Highway 70 in East Quincy, the Lost Sierra’s own community-based circus will delight attendees of all ages. The shows are included free with your fair admission.
In their wacky, color-filled and sometimes breathtaking way, Quircus never disappoints. Each 20-minute show will feature a celebration of the circus arts with bright, whirling and whimsical performances by multi-talented local members who are acrobats, artists, musicians, dancers and sideshow entertainers.
Quircus was founded in Plumas County as a community-based circus dedicated to engaging people of all ages and from many walks of life. Members with every experience level are included. The troupe fosters learning, education and a creative outlet for its performers. New members are always welcome.
The troupe is overjoyed to be back at the fair, too.
“This will be an exciting display of stilts, aerial arts and a fire show,” Quircus Director Rayen Lowry said this week. “Our last Plumas-Sierra County Fair shows were in 2019 and we want to send an extra shout-out of thanks to Fair Manager John Steffanic for his continued support of our fun and silly circus antics.”
This week’s opening of the county fair is a fresh chance to see the Quircus hometown favorites at their at best — especially after the long public health and safety precautions our communities have come through. Everybody’s ready for outdoor fun and local performers are, too.
Quircus players bring the fun
Quircus specializes in family-oriented entertainment and the players have often traveled to perform professionally at festivals, fairs and private parties. They’re also area favorites for workshops and community events. For instance, this summer, the performing artists provided local outreach, kids’ circus activities and fire dancing when they performed for Gold Diggers Day 2022.
Popular Quircus appearances have also included: the High Sierra Music Festival, Enchanted Forest Gathering, TBD Fest, Guitarfish Music Festival, Burning Man, San Francisco Superhero Street Fair, the Plumas-Sierra County Fair, Plumas County Children’s Fair and Redding Fire Festival, to name a few.
Director Lowry said the nonprofit group currently teaches climbing gym skills at Feather River College (FRC) in Quincy several times a week. And Quircus members teach aerial silks lessons at FRC, as well.
For an especially bright summer 2022, Quircus members say they extend big appreciation to the High Sierra Music Festival.
“We want to thank High Sierra for booking both local arts and artists,” Lowry said. “They included our community circus as a headliner of the event. On behalf of all of our artists, we really enjoyed returning to the “Family Zone” and the festival gave us a special honor — we hosted the four-night “Midnight Fire Show” this year!”
During the fire show, Quircus spotlighted local performers from Plumas and Butte counties over the first two nights. For the festival’s Saturday-Sunday shows, the circus arts group featured fire performers from Ashland, Oregon and Oakland, Sacramento, West Sacramento, Davis, Paradise, Concow and Chico. Music DJs from Santa Cruz, Oakland and Chico also made the gig.
Daytimes at the festival were packed, too. Quircus performers provided kids’ circus activities for three days at the High Sierra’s “Family Zone” hangout spot. Free popcorn and parachute games, circus-animal morning stretches, carnival games and prizes, plus flow arts, a clown school obstacle course and water games were on the schedule.
Many community events held in Plumas, Sierra and Lassen counties are provided free of charge to the public. This is largely due to the fact that Lost Sierra groups, businesses and families are traditionally generous to local organizations and nonprofits. As s recipient, the Quircus arts program is no exception.
Yet it’s no secret that the last two-plus years in this wild and scenic area have been hard. People, businesses, service organizations and the local economy have all experienced severe hardships. “Mountain strong” means something here.
“We lost over $1,000 in supplies and merchandise in the Dixie Fire,” Quircus Director Lowry said of the devastating 2021 wildland fire that raged through the region. “Through the generous hospitality of Ken Donnell, we had been using Musicland in Greenville for monthly potluck practices and storage that year.”
She said the circus troupe had also provided a carnival booth at Gold Diggers Day in 2021, but they lost their equipment and supplies that were stored there as well.
Still, Quircus and its performing artists are focused on a “the-show-must-go-on” resilience and they thank all of their benefactors and supporters. The circus group says they are committed to working — and performing — through the challenges they have endured.
Here comes the sun
Under the heading of “silver linings,” recent grant funds and donations have kept Quircus on its stilts, flying its silks and astonishing crowds with fire shows and feats of aerial daring-do.
A private donor provided the troupe with $3,200. Bread for the Journey gave them $800 for an acrobatics safety mat. And the Common Good Foundationawarded the players $1,500 for a community outreach program to teach circus skills to youth in Quincy and Greenville schools for the fall 2022 academic period.
Quircus also used some of its grant money this winter to host three months of “Flow Arts Fridays” offering open circus play for children and adults at the Quincy Veterans Hall.
And six Quircus artists performed in a “Superhero Show” at the Redding Fire Festival in May.
As the fair approaches and the circus troupe fine-tunes its show, Director Lowry affirmed the performers are grateful for every demonstration of financial support, patronage and interest.
“Thank you, everyone,” she said. “We appreciate the support very much and yes, we still need more help with fundraising.”
Due to the COVID health and safety response, as well as the Dixie Fire, the circus players lost income from events they had booked and would have held.
So please come out to see your local Quircus shows and visit the group online where all donations are welcome.
To support your community circus arts troupe, please donate here: https://www.quircus.com/donate
You can also follow Quircus on Facebook. Like their page and stay updated on performances here: