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Best Job of Filling Big Clown Shoes San Francisco 2013 - Circus Bella

The Pickle Family Circus is San Francisco's most enduring circus legacy. It "reinvented the circus" long before that phrase was a buzzword in the circus community, and its one-ring, animal-free show helped inspire the two street performers who founded Cirque du Soleil. The Pickles started in 1970s San Francisco, and reflected the times. Their shows were held in public parks, and always benefitted a good cause. They opened the San Francisco School of Circus Arts in 1984 (now Circus Center), which led to the extensive circus scene we have today. The Pickle Family Circus disbanded, but Circus Bella has picked up where it left off. The troupe performs free shows in public parks, with an emphasis on traditional (but animal-free) circus. And it partners with Oakland's after-school program, Prescott Circus Theatre, to help teach the circus stars of tomorrow. It even resurrected the Pickle's famous "big juggle" routine.

Photo by Michael Austin

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