1. I realized today that the Dane County Fair might be the only place my kids ever go which is reasonably representative of the socioeconomic and demographic mix of Madison.
2. The usual: funnel cake, Ferris wheel, etc. But something special this year was Flippin’, a steampunk-themed acrobatics show. Boy does that sound unpromising. But it was actually kind of amazing. Especially the Wheel of Death.
I didn’t think the Wallendas, who we saw at the fair a couple of years ago, could be beat. But these guys might have done it. There’s a bizarre optical illusion when one of the wheelers leaps as the wheel reaches its crest; his motion is almost in sync with that of the wheel, so it feels to the eye like you’re watching something happening in slow motion. I was floored.
Three of the four members of Flippin’ are Españas, members of a family that’s been in the circus for five generations. The dad, Ivan, is in the video above with his brother. His two kids were in the show we just saw. The mom, in 2004, fell 30 feet doing a routine and was killed. I think that’s kind of how it is in these families.