Send in the clowns: The circus may be recession proof

If value is king during a recession, as shoppers look to stretch their ever lessening dollars, then the circus is near the top, according to a recent New York Times story.

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus could benefit from the recession, said William B. Hall, a circus producer in Churchville, Pa.

"The circus is recession-proof -- or at least, Ringling is," Hall, 75, told the Times. "It's about escape and family."

With Wal-Mart, McDonald's and the movie industry seeing an increase in sales as people look for deals, the circus is seeing more people take advantage of its coupons and other enticements.

"For many families now a trip to Disney World is out of the question, but a drive to Ringling can give the kids a vacation for an afternoon," said Thomas J. Crangle, an independent event-marketing consultant in Las Vegas.

And the numbers are encouraging -- for the circus and customers. Attendance is up 12% from last year and ticket prices are down 7% to 8%.

It's a good time to be a kid.

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