By all accounts the month-long residence of the Circo Hermanos Vazquez in the east parking lot of North Riverside Park Mall was a success, and both village and mall officials say they look forward to a return appearance in 2020.
The circus, which has its roots in Mexico but has a U.S.-based troupe that tours this country pitched its pink and blue big-top tent in North Riverside on April 5 and pulled up stakes after their performances on April 28.
In all, they staged 40 shows and drew thousands of people to the shopping center, all without apparent incident.
“We didn’t have any reported incidents while it was in town,” said Police Chief Carlos Garcia, who said he even took in a performance himself. “It was pretty much self-sufficient, with their own security staff and traffic control. It never impacted regular traffic.”
Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. at the May 6 meeting of the village board said feedback regarding the circus was positive and that the circus wanted to return in the future.
“The director of business relations has expressed Circo Hermanos Vazquez’s desire to return to North Riverside next year, and they will be welcome,” Hermanek said.
North Riverside Park Mall General Manager Harvey Ahitow said it was hard to measure the circus’ overall impact financially on the mall, but he assumed it drove some traffic into the shopping center and it certainly brought many new visitors to the area.
“We were extremely happy with the event,” Ahitow said. “It brought a lot of additional traffic to the center. There were no security issues and everyone seemed to enjoy it. It turned out to be great, and we’ll do it again.”
The circus had a positive financial impact on the village of North Riverside, according to Finance Director Sue Scarpiniti, bringing in gross revenues of $38,538 and resulting in less than $1,000 in expenses.
The biggest share of the revenue — $25,468 — came from the village’s amusement tax, which took a 5-percent cut of all ticket sales, which means total circus ticket revenue came in at almost $510,000.
Because the circus also sold food and drinks, North Riverside also took in revenue through its places for eating tax, and received fees for business and license and permit fees as well as the sale of water.
The only suggestion Scarpiniti had for trustees was that the village help promote the circus to increase traffic.
“In the future, I suggest we increase our community and business outreach to better promote the event considering it draws a significant family-friendly crowd,” Scarpiniti wrote in a May 20 memo to elected officials.