Sporting her big red nose and wearing her floppy shoes, Skeeter the clown, traveled through Vilonia, recently, hawking a message to children "the circus is coming to town."

Representing the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus, the advance clown said there are to be two (90-minute) performances, set for 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 31. The event is being sponsored by the Vilonia Lions Club.

Making an early morning appearance at day cares across the city, she played instruments, sang songs and performed antics and also fielded a few questions. One youngster at the Central Christian Academy of Vilonia, quizzed her to the size of her shoes and why they are so large. She told the child, they are big so "I can walk really, really slow."

Answering a few questions from the older clown lovers, Skeeter (aka Tina Bausch) said the C&M Circus is based in Hugo, Oklahoma. She has been working on the road as a clown for 33 years. She got her start at the early age of 9 years old in Columbus, OH, and is a graduate of the Ringling Clown College.

The circus performances, in Vilonia, will feature performers from around the world including Germany, Argentina and Mexico, Skeeter said. She also handed out C and M Circus coloring contest sheets. Children bringing them to the paid performances will receive gifts, she said.

She also invited the community to the raising of the "Big Top," which is set for 9:30 a.m., March 31, on the Vilonia Middle School campus. Activity will be churning around the grounds as animals are unloaded, the big top is erected and the rigging is prepared for the evening performances. There is no charge to watch and the public is invited to observe the vacant ground as it is turned into a bustling circus city.

According to the C&M Circus website, the 90-minute event will include performing camels, amazing feats on the high wire, a dog and pony revue, an incredible daring trapeze act as well as members of the High-Flying Perez Troupe catapulted high in the air, a troupe on unicycles doing stunts and a hula hoop act, performances by both fur and feathered pets.

Tickets are available at Eagle Bank, Centennial Bank, First Security Bank and What’s For Dinner. Prices for advance tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and children (ages 2-12). Tickets at the door are $13 for adults and $8 for seniors and children.

For more information, contact Keith Hillman at 501-416-6888.