Winter Park audiences thrill to Zoppe Italian Theatrical Family Circus |

Winter Park audiences thrill to Zoppe Italian Theatrical Family Circus

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
ALL | Sky-Hi Daily News

In a large, colorful tent at the base of Winter Park Resort, Zoppe Italian Theatrical Family Circus earned many “oos” and “ahs” along with laughs this weekend.

Bill and Amy Case of Fraser watched the show with their daughter and grandchildren from Kansas on Saturday.

“I liked the dogs,” said Mattie Davis, 10.

“I loved the acrobatics,” said Becky Case, Mattie’s mom.

“I liked the jugglers ” they were really good,” Bill Case added.

At the beginning of the circus a clown called “Nino” fired up the audience.

After losing his hat, he tries to pick it up, but his foot keeps getting in his way and kicking it forward when he attempts to retrieve it. When he finally succeeds, it ends up at the opposite end of a broomstick he carries over his shoulder.

He doesn’t know what happened to it, so he enlists help from a boy in the audience. After a series of comical mishaps trying to retrieve the cap with the boy, Nino finally succeeds.

Later, Nino selected a woman from the audience to help with his act at the 6 p.m. show. He positioned her body into a theatrical pose, with one arm and leg leaning out, and then said, “Wow.”

After he asked her to kiss his cheek but turned his head and got a peck on the lips instead.

“That wasn’t planned,” said the woman, Catrina Mazzanoble of Fraser. “I was just petrified.”

Afterwards, she said she wished she had kidded with Nino a little more to even things up.

Giovanni Zoppe plays Nino. His family has been in the circus for seven generations, since 1842. Zoppe’s family is from Italy and he has been performing since he was born, he said.

Acrobat Adrian Poema’s family has been in the circus for six generations.

During the show he flipped his daughters and son on his feet, and they did multiple back and front flips along with twists. The family is from Argentina.

Poema said they practiced six to eight hours, five days a week before the skit was finalized. Now they practice three to five hours each day, he said.

Russian cousins also stood on horses while juggling back and fourth. And a group of dogs showed off their talent by clearing hurdles and jumping rope.

Amy Riccio, an aerialist known as “Lady of the Air,” performed about 20 feet above the ground. At the end she flew toward the crowd, but her feet caught her as she swung from a rope.

Riccio said the audience was great.

“We really hope to come back,” she said. “We love it here.”

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