By Megan Gleason, Daily Lobo

The circus is coming to Moriarty. Performing animals, daredevils, unicyclists and more will all be part of two separate 90-minute family-friendly shows by Culpepper & Merriweather Circus taking place April 15 at the Lions Club at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The Moriarty Lions Club, which is sponsoring this event, will receive a portion of the proceeds from selling tickets. Club President Jannette Dudley said the Lions directly support the community, and the money will go straight back to the them.

“All of our funds go back to the community, so every dollar we raise goes back to the community,” she said.

Tickets—which are $12 for adults and $7 for ages 2-12 and seniors 65+—are being sold at Tractor Supply in Edgewood and at Moriarty Foods, at 1701 Historic Route 66 on April 2 and April 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets can also be bought online on C&M Circus’ website, Tickets are available until 10 p.m. the night before or until sold out. Tickets bought the day of the event will have increased pricing.

“When you’re considering $12 for an adult ticket or $7 for a child, it’s still reasonable and affordable for someone to take their kid to something and really have an experience,” Lion Jesse Dudley said.

Culpepper & Merriweather tends to partner with local non-profit organizations when they travel around the U.S. to perform, according to Simone Key, one of the ringmasters and aerialists.

“They help us sell tickets ahead of time and they earn a portion of the ticket sales and then that goes back into the community so it’s cool that it’s kind of a mutually beneficial thing,” Key said.

The Moriarty Lions Club has various community-based events, such as donating gifts to hundreds of children during the holiday season, helping adults and children with access to vision care, decorating the park during holiday seasons, working with youth groups and more. Proceeds from the circus will help those types of events continue.

“The motto is, ‘Where there’s a need, there’s a Lion,’” Jesse Dudley said.

It’s nice for small towns to have entertainment nearby because it may not always be so accessible, both Key and Jesse Dudley noted. Growing up in a small town in Oklahoma, Key said the closest movie theater was 35 minutes away, which is not unlike Moriarty.

“We just always like going to smaller towns because they really appreciate that something came directly to their community,” Key said.

Jesse Dudley said because there are “limited opportunities to take your kid to something that is a family event” in a small town like Moriarty, it’s nice that the circus will be coming.

“It really is for children of all ages,” Key said. “It’s cool to have grandparents come in and be like, ‘Oh, I haven’t been to a circus since I was a kid’ and you know then they’re coming with their kids and their grandkids.”

Megan Gleason is the Editor-in-Chief of the New Mexico Daily Lobo. She is a student at the University of New Mexico graduating in May.