The Kora Shrine Circus Won’t Return to Maine After a Nearly 70-year Run
For generations of families in central and southern Maine, the Kora Shrine Circus was an event that seemingly brought everyone together for the fun of clowns, performers, exotic animals, and cotton candy. Despite sliding attendance over the last decade, the annual events still generated ticket sales and raised revenue for the long-standing fraternal organization. But after two consecutive years of canceled shows and swirls of controversy, the Kora Shrine Circus won't be happening in Maine for 2022, and may never return.
Shared on Facebook by Kora Shrine Circus, the bittersweet announcement was made on Wednesday evening. Despite an outpouring of support for the circus and its potential return, organizers decided not to pursue formally setting dates for the traveling show. While not setting in stone that the Kora Shrine Circus would never return, the ominous Facebook post suggests it's likely gone for good.
According to the Portland Press Herald, that development will leave animal rights supporters overjoyed. For many years, traveling circuses across the United States have seen waning interest in their events due to surrounding controversies involving the treatment of performers and specifically, the animals in the circus. The Kora Shrine Circus has always maintained a high reputation for their care involving animals and performers. Despite that, the City of Portland implemented an ordinance that banned performances from exotic animals like elephants, forcing traveling circuses to find venues outside of Maine's largest city to hold their events.
It was expected that the Kora Shrine Circus would hold their annual spring shows in Lewiston and Augusta this year as it approached its 70-year anniversary. Instead, fond memories will have to take the place of what was once the greatest show on Earth.