The face of once-Bethel resident and well-known circus pioneer P.T. Barnum was revealed in a blast of true circus flare last Sunday. Barnum, forever immortalized in shining copper, holds his arms out to welcome the citizens of Bethel as he once greeted patrons to the “greatest show on earth.”
Sophomore Cheyenne Clark, who attended the unveiling, thinks the statue is “kind of cool”, but missed out on the free clown noses and animal crackers that were given away to citizens who attended the unveiling. Veteran clowns joined in the celebration and helped paint a picture in everyone’s mind of Barnum’s exciting misadventures.
P.T. Barnum’s life began in Bethel, from which all his colorful exploits were born. He was particularly renowned for his sly business expertise and ability to always please a crowd. Today, he is survived by the Barnum and Bailey circus, as well as the iconic mark he has left on the entertainment industry. The term “midget” was originally a title forced on circus freaks from Barnum himself, roughly meaning “bug person”. Though this slang was accepted in Barnum’s day, it has since been banned as offensive and politically incorrect.
To congratulate this accomplished man, the statue was revealed on his 200th birthday. The statue was a mere prologue to the events to come, though, as Bethel High school’s band and cheerleader teams mingled with clowns and a gigantic elephant in the Barnum parade.
“It was really good,” comments BHS cheerleader Taylor Freitas. Even for those who weren’t fortunate enough to witness the unveiling and following parade, a bit of circus spirit can still be enjoyed every time a Bethel resident passing Barnum’s proud statue.