The Concord charity Spay It Forward received support from the community during its second annual Circus Stella performance at Cannon School April 11.
In addition to the one-ring Kannapolis-based circus, other organizations and individuals participated to help the fundraiser.
Vivian Strickland, 7, from Kannapolis, held her arms up high as Emily Langley, from the Soap Bubble Circus, lifted the strings out of the bubble solution and made a huge bubble over Vivian’s head.
Other children joined and were thrilled when the giant bubbles would pop and cover them in a soapy mist.
Meanwhile, Sarah Langley used two wands connected to a series of loops to make a barrage of bubbles high in the air that floated down among the circus visitors. Balloon sculpting, face-painting and a juggling class were some of the highlights of the pre-show activities.
Spay It Forward was founded in January 2014 to help low-income families get their pets spayed and neutered, said board member Ann Cannon. The charity’s mission is to help with issues that the county can’t address, to reduce the number of unwanted pets in the community.
Kannapolis residents Dextre Tripp and his wife, Jana Colgin, along with their five rescue dogs, perform as Circus Stella, with some of the traditional acts found in larger circuses – but performed outdoors, without the tent.
The show started with Colgin having two young volunteers help her mount the trapeze while still wearing her stilts. She engaged the crowd while she performed aerial stunts, with the extension still attached to her legs.
Fire soon became a theme as Colgin lit the three batons resting on Tripp’s head. “This is where I light my husband’s hair on fire,” she said as she lit the third baton.
Tripp balanced on two chairs behind her as Colgin juggled three more flaming batons for the crowd.
Visiting artists from the Thimblerig Circus, based in Atlanta, took over after another aerial performance by Colgin on the trapeze. Presented as a Moldavian Circus, Adam Lowe, Jennifer Doran and Jason Munger wowed the crowd with their performing names – Molotov, Kizka and Zolophd.
Zolophd amazed the crowd by eating fire, swallowing a sword and breathing fire as Molotov and Kizka offered comic relief.
Besides the money raised by the more than 300 people who attended, there was also an opportunity to help the Cooperative Christian Ministry Pet Food Bank by donating pet food to Kaleb’s Kause For Kitties & Puppies.
Kannapolis resident Kaleb Brooks, 8, started collecting food for those in need on his eighth birthday, asking guests to bring pet food to be donated instead of birthday gifts. On Saturday, Kaleb collected two cars full of pet food to be donated to CCM on the following Tuesday.
Cannon said the event raised $25,361. She tells each family they help that “it isn’t the organization’s money, but it is money from the community to help you with your pets,” she said.
Spay It Forward also uses some funds to help other organizations that are working to reduce the number of unwanted pets in the community.
Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about Spay It Forward, go to www.spayitforwardnc.org or search for it on Facebook.