Big Apple Circus Artistic Director Guillaume Dufresnoy describes the wide range of acts to be presented by his troupe during the circus’ two-week run this summer in Charles Wood Park, Lake George. Dufresnoy and area officials exchanged compliments concerning cooperation that secured the show’s two-week tenure this summer in Lake George.
Lake George’s municipal festival venue has been mired in a long history of stalled construction and public disputes of how it should be developed.
But May 13, local officials were all in accord as they gave a hearty welcome to executives of the renowned Big Apple Circus as they scouted out the Charles R. Wood Park for their 25 shows to be presented over two weeks this July.
The area officials said they were happy that such a prominent national attraction took up their invitation to locate at the festival grounds this year, despite the fact that the venue isn’t yet fully developed.
The award-winning intimate circus, based in Ne York City, has been situated for similar stints in such high-profile places as Boston, the Washington D.C. area, as well as Lincoln Center in Manhattan.
The circus has earned rave reviews for its creativity and artistic spectacle. It features trained animals of unusual species, a troupe of acrobats from the Orient, jugglers from Russia, renowned trapeze artists, operatic singing, a live band and seasoned clowns. It’s all presented in one ring under an air-conditioned big top that accommodates 1,500 where no seat is farther than 50 feet away from the performances.
In welcoming the circus executives, Lake George Mayor Robert Blais said he was thrilled they responded so enthusiastically when he sent out an email just months ago inviting attractions to set up in the Charles R. Wood Park during the venue’s initial year.
“It was mind boggling to send out the invitations and get a reply from Big Apple Circus,” Blais said. “I was expecting something far smaller in stature to respond.”
Blais said the presence of Big Apple this summer would help attract other prominent shows and events to Lake George, enhancing its reputation as a family destination.
“No other resort town in America will have a circus like Big Apple,” he said, noting local officials are hopeful that the circus will draw robust crowds and prompt Big Apple to return year after year.
“We’re seeking to establish a long and lasting relationship,” Blais added.
Chamber Director Michael Consuelo offered a similar forecast of how Big Apple would boost Lake George’s prominence as a site for various shows and functions.
“This is a home run for all of us,” he said.
Big Apple spokesman Philip Thurston revealed why the executives of the non-profit circus chose Lake George.
“It was a combination of accessibility, visibility, location and potential audience that made it an ideal spot,” Thurston said. “This is one of America’s premier resort communities.”
Big Apple Circus Artistic Director Guillaume Dufresnoy praised the local officials for making accommodations for their tenure on the Charles Wood Park festival grounds. Warren County and the village are waiving site fees and paying for some of the infrastructure and services they require.
“Presenting the shows is about partnerships, not just a parking lot in a resort town,” he said.
Dufresnoy and other circus officials said they were pleased that the Lake George Chamber of Commerce, municipal officials and area business representatives were partnering with them in promotions and offering package deals.
The circus will be offering two shows most days between Saturday July 14 and Sunday July 29. Details are available at: www.bigapplecircus.org.
A top state official was on hand for the press conference formally announcing the circus’ two-week run.
Matt Driscoll, President and CEO of the state Environmental Facilities Corp. said he was pleased to see that $738,000 of his agency’s grant money would put to work — in the form of porous pavement and stormwater control — while benefiting the local economy. He said the circus and the development of the park would attract more people and business to Lake George.
“Congratulations to all,” he said.