The Thanksgiving Weekend tradition will return to the Ford Center in downtown Evansville when the 88th Hadi Shrine Circus kicks off on Thanksgiving evening. As they've done for the past several years, the Shriners are saying thanks to all active duty members of the military by giving them the opportunity to take in a performance absolutely free.

The Growth of the Hadi Shrine Circus

The Circus has clearly evolved since it first began 1933 at the Evansville Coliseum on Court Street downtown. As you can see from the photo below from the Willard Library Archive, there wasn't (and still isn't) a ton of floor space in the Coliseum compared to what the Ford Center provides, or Roberts Stadium before that. But they obviously made it work.

Willard Library Archive
Willard Library Archive
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Of course, the show back then likely didn't have the same types of acts today's version does. Obviously, elephants were part of the show and based on the four poles on either side of the ring, and the rope ladder seen on the left side of the photo, I'm guessing there was either a trapeze act, a high-wire act, or both involved. But even those classic acts have become bigger and more death-defying for today's audiences which require more space to execute.

2022 Hadi Shrine Circus Acts

This year's Circus will feature a few of those acts, but it will also feature several that people in 1936 would have never imagined. For example, Freestyle BMX Bikers will be part of this year's show performing crazy tricks while flying high above the floor of the Ford Center. And, Alexander Petrov will also be performing. He's only one of the few performers on the planet who rides a motorcycle along a high wire 30 feet above the ground while an aerialist hangs underneath performing acrobatic moves.

Free Tickets for Active Duty Military Members and Their Families

Tickets for any of the eight performances of the Hadi Shrine Circus are available now at the Hadi Shrine Ticket Office in the parking lot across from the Hadi Shrine Temple on the corner of Riverside Drive and Walnut Street in downtown Evansville. You can also purchase your tickets online through the Circus website.

However, if you're an active duty member of the military or the immediate family member of one who is currently deployed somewhere other than the Evansville area, the Shriners don't want your money. Instead, they want to thank you for your service by giving you as many tickets as you need for any one of the performances of this year's Circus.

To take them up on the offer, stop by the Hadi Temple on Wednesday, November 16th between 4:00 and 7:00 PM during our live broadcast and present your military ID. In the event you are one of the members stationed somewhere that isn't the Tri-State, an immediate family member, such as a spouse, can stop by and get tickets. All they'll need to do is present their government-issued military ID.

2022 Hadi Shrine Circus Schedule

This year's Circus will perform at the following dates and times:

  • Thanksgiving Day – 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday, November 25 – 9:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 26 – 9:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 27 – 3:00 p.m

[Source: Hadi Shrine Circus]

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