Have You Seen a Flea Circus Lately?

Connie and Marty Cook and their fabulous Flea Circus!

I doubt that you have, but my husband and I did, just recently, no kidding! We were at the Rough and Tumble Thresherman’s  Reunion, in Ronks, PA, when there they were, a husband and wife team putting on a Flea Circus. Flea Circuses date back hundreds of years, and  were especially popular in the early 1900’s. Barnum and Bailey surely had one or two performances at their events. With each act came the same questions. Are there really fleas performing here? Can fleas even be trained?  “A flea lives to be two months old and using a fine gold wire attached to its head, can be trained to do lots of tricks,” so said one flea circus performer.  “It’s humbug,” you say. Well, most people say this but we watched closely and although we didn’t see one, water actually splashed when a flea high-dived into a small container.  Was somebody pulling my leg? I guess you will  have to decide.  But this I am sure of, Marty and Connie Cook put on a very convincing show. They kept the fleas in tiny canisters and brought them out of their homes with long handled tweezers. The kids watching the show were offered a magnifying glass and sure enough, they nodded “Yes, we see it.”

Marty and Connie Cook, of York, PA, appeared to enjoy the performances as much as their audiences did. Marty laughed with the smart kid who said, ” It’s a fake and I’m never coming back. ”  But a girl looking through a magnifying glass answered yes, when Marty asked her if she could see the flea smile. What fun and indeed an act kids won’t soon forget or me either.

2 thoughts on “Have You Seen a Flea Circus Lately?

  1. I am presently building a flea circus with stunts loosely based on the Barnum Bash. I also have built steam tractor models that run on their own power. For other stuff I do, google images [gale wollenberg] to see lots of pictures and a video at the sandalwood website.


    • Thanks for writing, Gale. Sounds as if you have found plenty to keep you busy. Good luck with the flea circus. They are fun and seem to be coming back in vogue. Love steam and the engines that carry people around the yard. Please comment again.


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