Saturday, April 19, 2014 - 9:58:54 PM

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The Circus: A Family Affair

It's a family affair

"We like think of the Royal Hanneford Circus as our family entertaining your family.  Circus is a strong family tradition.  It's passed on generation after generation throughout circus history," said Billy Martin, Ringmaster.

While hundreds of families will come out to watch the circus in Binghamton this weekend, about a dozen families are apart of the show.

"The old cliche, the ringmaster falls in love with the trapeze girl, and that was 25 years ago," said Martin.

Ringmaster Billy Martin met his wife while in the circus.  He was the first in his family to join. But for many,  circus performance is a family tradition.

"I'm the third generation.  My grandpa taught my dad and my dad taught me.  We started off doing flying trapeze," said Martin Espana, third generation circus performer.

"I'm actually a six generation circus performer," said Kim Valla Bertini, sixth generation circus performer.

Bertini has gotten her whole family in on the fun.  Violet and Vincent perform each night alongside mom and dad as they travel across the country.

"Most people who join the circus are generational and we all consider ourselves family.  Everybody watches out for the kids and we all watch our for each other," said Bertini.

The Royal Hanneford Circus is made up of about 60 members who will spend January through Thanksgiving devoting their lives to performing and having a little fun along the way.

"3,000 to 4000 people cheering because you did something, its pretty amazing," said Espana.

"Time flies when your having fun," said Martin.

Today, I was lucky enough to become a part of the Royal Hanneford family.

"It doesn't matter what job you do.  We are all one big happy family and we're all in it for that main thing-- making the circus good," said Martin.

There are three shows Saturday and a show Sunday.  For ticket information, visit

Money raised will benefit the Kalurah Shriners who help provide free medical care for children with serious medical conditions.

Ali Warner Fox 40 HD News.


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