That enormous purple and blue tent soon to be set up behind Olive Garden restaurant in the parking lot of the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, isn’t a bouncy house for giant children. It’s the circus – and it’ll be presenting shows daily throughout most of April.
Circo Hermanos Vazquez, which has two units that separately tour both Mexico and the United States, will make its first-ever appearance in the Chicago suburbs starting April 5 and running through April 28.
According to an event application submitted to the village of North Riverside Circo Hermanos Vazquez is a “big-top family circus … that consists of quality family entertainment, with acts from around the world. [The] show consists of clowns, balance acts, swing act and a horse act and farm animal act.”
The big top tent, which can seat close to 1,000 people at maximum capacity, is set up in the parking lot between Olive Garden and the bus stop, with the public entrance on the south end of the tent.
Vehicles serving as the living quarters for the circus performers and staff will be located in the former railroad right of way east of the parking lot.
Monday through Friday the circus will perform daily at 7:30 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, the troupe will perform three shows at 2, 5 and 8 p.m.
Tickets, which can be purchased online at www.circovazquez.com, are $15 for kids ages 2-10 in all seating areas. Adult ticket prices vary depending on proximity to the central ring, with VIP area seats at $60, preferred at $50 and general admission for $40. Discounts are available by entering a promo code online.
North Riverside Village Administrator Guy Belmonte said he’s been told that the circus likely will draw between 250 to 350 people for shows Monday through Thursday. Shows on Friday night and each show on the weekend are expected to draw 500 to 700 people, Belmonte said.
Asked if the village would be providing people to direct traffic, Belmonte said the circus has its own security staff that can also direct traffic, if needed.
“We don’t expect anything [required from the village],” Belmonte said.
The circus is a first for North Riverside Park Mall and for the village. Belmonte said that the village is approached almost annually by carnival operators, but the village takes a pass on them.
A family circus, however, was worth a shot, he said.
“You have to pay to get in, and it’s family-oriented,” Belmonte said. “I think carnivals would be more challenging.”
The village also stands to collect a bit revenue from the circus. In addition to business license, inspection and plan review fees the village will bill the circus, North Riverside will collect its 2 percent places-for-eating tax on food items – hot dogs, cotton candy, churros, popcorn, pizza, snow cones, chicken wings and soft drinks — sold at the circus concession stand inside the big top.
The village will also receive 5 percent of the total amount of gross ticket sales during the month-long event via its amusement tax, which was updated in 2018 to expand the definition of “amusement,” which in the past was limited to movie theater ticket sales at the mall.
“This will bring revenue to the village,” Belmonte said.