Come one, Come all: Ben Hur Shrine Circus performs in Cedar Park this weekend


The Shrine Circus has returned to H-E-B Center at Cedar Park with six performances scheduled for Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31 through Sept. 2. The Ben Hur Shriners will host the Carden Circus, the only traditional three ring circus to visit the North Austin Metro Area.

The HEB Center hosted an Elephant Brunch on Aug. 31, the date of the first circus show of the Labor Day weekend, and brought out its elephants to feast on an array of fruit while performers talked with a crowd of about 200 people.

James J. Clark, chief of Ben Hur Shriners-Austin said the Circus has performed at the HEB Center for 11 consecutive years.

“The HEB Center is one of the best in the world, they have everything you need to perform,” he said. “The people here are fantastic and the working crew is very helpful. It just makes everything easier to put on a circus.”

Shriners International is an international fraternity of master masons, managing a hospital system made up of 22 hospitals worldwide. The group funds hospital stays for children in need.

Brian LaPalme, ringmaster of Carden Circus, has been performing since 1976.

“When I started, I think the audience then, 42 years ago, just got into it easier,” he said. “Nowadays, when people don’t see as much live entertainment and all of their entertainment is on a screen, you’re just kind of passive. Only your eyes are watching. You’re not applauding or getting emotional. Here, at the circus, my job has changed a bit to become kind of a cheerleader. This is not passive entertainment: we want you to laugh when the clowns are here, yell when the human cannonball is shot across the arena or ooh and aah when the elephants come in.”

LaPalme will retire next year and said he will be sad to leave the circus.

“I love meeting different audiences and traveling,” he said. “To me, there is so much excitement with my job… I love that you get a big range of people. We welcome everyone: young, old, boys, girls, we want everyone to come and have a good time.”

The Ben Hur Shrine Circus was formed 70 years ago, entertaining massive crowds from Chicago to Green Bay.

“It’s a show that you just can’t miss,” added Clark. “It’s really a great show. Come on out and enjoy the fun!”

The Shrine Circus is a fundraising event for the Ben Hur Shrine Temple, known for their tireless and colorful participation in the community service projects and philanthropic pursuits.  Shriners International is one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the world.  For more information on Ben Hur Shrine, visit

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