Baraboo’s Big Top Parade & Circus Celebration


BARABOO – Looking to safeguard the health of participants and spectators, organizers of the Big Top Parade and Circus Celebration have decided to cancel this year’s event. With the COVID-19 pandemic necessitating social distancing, parade organizers agreed it wouldn’t be wise to encourage a large gathering July 18 in downtown Baraboo.

“We truly didn’t want to cancel this spectacular event,” said Nanci Caflisch, who leads the organizing committee. “But safety must come first.”
Each summer, the streets of historic downtown Baraboo become the stage for an old-fashioned circus parade featuring exotic animals, marching bands and clowns. The Ringling brothers’ hometown has built a circus-themed festival around the parade, drawing upwards of 30,000 people to enjoy live music, great food and – of course – performances under Circus World’s big top.

“We know that the parade weekend is a favorite among circus fans and a dynamic way for our community to celebrate its vibrant circus heritage. Wide-eyed children of all ages will have to wait until July 17, 2021,” said Scott O’Donnell, Executive Director of Circus World. “The show must go on, but only once it’s safe.”
Finding a silver lining, Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Darren Hornby said organizers now have 15 months to plan the 2021 parade and festival. The Chamber of Commerce and Circus World jointly support the committee in presenting the event. “You can count on the next Big Top Parade and Circus Celebration being the best yet!” Hornby said.

For more information, contact: Darren Hornby, Executive Director Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce
(608) 356-8333

Mark Saturday, July 18, 2020 on your calendar, as Baraboo commemorates its circus heritage by hosting the 8th Annual Big Top Parade & Circus Celebration. The parade features nearly 100 circus and community entries traveling around the historic downtown courthouse square.

Young and old will be enthralled by the circus wagons, marching bands, horses and other animals and of course, the cavalcade of clowns! This parade and all the events surrounding it get bigger and better every year.

Go West

This year’s theme is “Go West!” as Baraboo brings the West to the Midwest, circus-style.

Before and after the parade, the Baraboo area and our downtown will be filled with family-friendly events. The entire community will embrace the Western theme, and we promise y’all will have a good ol’ time!

Circus World is a key partner in the parade, lending its unparalleled collection of historic wagons to the event. The performers in this summer’s big top show, which also adopts the “Go West” theme, will appear in the parade, as will clubs, community groups and circus performers from across the region.

After catching the parade, you are invited to stay downtown for a heapin’ helpin’ of hospitality.

Enjoy live entertainment at the Circus Palooza station, which will feature live music and food; or cruise down “Eat Street” and taste delectable treats from food vendors.

Then top off your afternoon by heading down to Baraboo’s treasured Circus World to catch a big top performance.

Finally, if you aren’t plumb tuckered out, you can unwind with circus-themed entertainment that evening at the Al. Ringling Theatre, a palatial playhouse built by the eldest Ringling brother.