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January 22, 2023

45 Fascinating Photos of the Milwaukee Circus Parade in the 1960s

The Great Circus Parade is a parade of marching bands, circus wagons, clowns, performers, and animals. Between 1963 and 2009, it has been held 30 times in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a few times in Chicago and Baraboo, Wisconsin.

A fundraiser for the Circus World Museum, the parade typically draws hundreds of thousands of attendees. The parade recreates how people in the late 19th century and early 20th century gathered along stops on a circus’s route to see whether a circus was worth viewing.

The Great Circus Parade was founded by Chappie Fox and Ben Barkin and first held in Milwaukee in 1963. It continued annually in Milwaukee until 1973. Between 1980 and 2005, it was held in Milwaukee, Chicago or Baraboo, Wisconsin. No parade was held between 2006 and 2008.

These fascinating photos were found by Mark Susina that show the Great Circus Parade in 1963 and 1965.


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