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Workers set up for the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars at the Pitt County Fairgrounds on Friday morning. (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)
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Workers set up for the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars at the Pitt County Fairgrounds on Friday morning. (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)

Circus comes to town

“It’s controlled mayhem, like a bunch of ants building a colony, but everyone knows exactly what they’re doing.”


Bill Dundee
Cole Bros. Circus

By Michael Abramowitz

The Daily Reflector

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The Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars, in Greenville for two days this week, was a spectacle to behold — well before the first act even began Friday under the Big Top.

A caravan of 40-50 tractor-trailers, buses and RVs pulled into the Pitt County Fair grounds at about 4 a.m. The drivers knew just where to place the trucks carrying the lions, tigers and elephants while the circus performers were still sleeping after the drive from Dudley, near Mt. Olive. A crew of 30 people were at work just after dawn to raise the tents for the main event that began at 4:30 p.m. A second performance followed at 7:30 p.m.


“It’s controlled mayhem, like a bunch of ants building a colony, but everyone knows exactly what they’re doing,” Cole Bros. marketing director Bill Dundee said. “We have a ‘24-hour man’ who comes ahead of the caravan and maps out the entire circus grounds to determine exactly where the tent and each exhibit and vehicle will be assembled during our stay in town.”

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Bless your heart
Bless your heart