609 St. Louis Avenue East St. Louis, IL 62201-2927 Phone: 618-874-1870

Ainad Shriner's First Circus - January 21, 1922

Public entertainment has been no stranger to the Shriners of Southern Illinois. In 1916, the organization opened to the public for the purpose of hosting minstrels as a fundraiser. These were often popular for an evening out for membership and those who in the public wanted to be entertained. Ainad Shriners first circus (a tradition that continues today in several Southern Illinois communities) started on January 21, 1922. The John W. Moore Co. from Chicago provided the circus entertainment. Known as the Shrine Circus and Arabian Fete, the circus wowed spectators for a period of eight days with a break on Sunday, January 22. A Shrine parade was scheduled for opening night but due to weather it was cancelled. The streets were covered with snow and ice.

The circus was held at the new Union Trust Bank Building in East St. Louis, on the corner of Collinsville and Missouri Avenues. Spot lights illuminated the new building as to “flood” the exterior of the building as well as project into the nights sky. The Nobles created their own stages, lighting and backdrops for all of the circus performances and the overall theme was Arabian with Shrine colors. They created an Arabian village for concessions. The Nobles who were businessmen, grocery store clerks, meat packers, railroad engineers, all became hot dog vendors, popcorn makers, hucksters and hosts to the public.

Memories were created from seven nights of circus performances by kids of all ages. Even the Nobles were entertained knowing that they had put smiles on everyone’s faces. The 10 year old Shrine organization came through giving the public a show in the winter of January 1922 grossing approximately $30,000 with the cirus tickets only costing fifty cents. Families then, just as families today, had nights to remember. Seeing thrilling high wire acts, watching the animals perform and laughing at the clowns. The Shriners of Southern Illinois are keeping with this long standing tradition, providing family fun activities at the Ainad Shrine Circus.

Ainad Circus 2017 Parade
Belleville, IL June 2 at 7:30pm

Ainad Shriner's 2017 Circus Schedule

Information coming soon.

Circus Information

Ainad Circus Web site
Circus Ad Instructions
Circus Ad Contract
Circus Group Form
Circus License Form

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