WED, 10/1

A circus remains an eternally strange blend of old traditions and things that have never been seen before: For instance, kids who are afraid of clowns and attend the 133rd Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will barely even recognize that skyscraper-coifed daredevil Bello even is a clown. And no one, but no one, has ever seen the startling Bailey's Comet (nor will they ever again, according to the flowery pre-circus hype). So what's not to love? This circus of all circuses brings Bello and Bailey's to Denver, along with a classic carnival gang that includes tiger tamer Mark Oliver Gebel, troupes of human boomerangs and Chinese acrobats, a trick-ropin' rodeo star on horseback, the beyond-extreme Globe of Death motorcycle act and all the dancing elephants, horses, dogs, camels and other wild animals you can handle. The frenzy begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Place, then switches venues mid-run and wraps up October 12 at the more intimate Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt Street. All opening-night tickets are $10; after that, they range from $12.75 to $20.75. Call 303-830-TIXS. -- Susan Froyd

Calling Creative Kids
SAT, 9/27

Fire, air, water and earth will come to life at today's Parade of the Elements, a Kidz Express event sponsored by non-profit Denver arts group Daydreamz Project. Kids of all ages are invited to make masks and costumes to be used in the One Sky One World Peace Parade held at Sloan's Lake on October 12. "We're looking for people to come and create their artistic impressions of the elements, whether it's as a fish, a butterfly or a flower," says Daydreamz director Starr Hogan.

To participate, visit the basement of Our Merciful Savior Episcopal Church, 2224 West 32nd Avenue, today between 1 and 5 p.m. The event is free, but monetary and material donations will be accepted. "We're really trying to bring people together and make community connections over creativity," says Hogan.

For more information, visit www.daydreamzproject.org or call 303-927-6978. -- Julie Dunn

Buggy Birthday
Kids can help celebrate the SCFD
SAT, 9/27

It's a birthday party, but the guest of honor won't actually be there. That won't stop the Bug Theatre, 3654 Navajo Street, from providing a kid-centered bash to mark the fifteenth birthday of the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District. It's one of many free events honoring the organization's funding of over 300 metro-area cultural groups. From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Bug will host an open house at which little ones will be entertained by the actors and musicians of the theater's Children's Series. There will be live music, face painting, chalk drawing and mask making, and everyone gets a balloon. With the funding the Bug receives from the SCFD, the Children's Series is able to tour area schools, and the theater will release a CD of songs from its productions. But series director Rhaetia Hanscum believes that one of the best things about the funding is that it gives dedicated actors a break. "We're starting to pay our actors so maybe they don't have to have four jobs," she says.

For more information, call 303-477-9984. -- Jonelle Wilkinson Seitz

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Julie Dunn
Contact: Julie Dunn
Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd
Jonelle Wilkinson Seitz