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By Jess D'Amico in Arts & Entertainment on May 31, 2007 8:11PM

Every kid wants to run away and join the circus. The elephants! The striped tents! The cotton candy! We wanted to be the strong man or the graceful trapeze artist or for some of us, the bearded lady. Most of all, we wanted to experience that magic was real and unbelievable things could happen everyday.

With summer finally upon us, we can’t wait to cast off our Chicago winter pallor and go to the free events around the city enjoying the sun on our backs. But in case we get too hot, or sunburned, we can now visit the circus, free of that carny smell and enjoy free air conditioning.

In honor of the July birthdays of the inventors of the American circus, P.T. Barnum and James A. Bailey, the Newberry Library is holding a month-long exhibit starting in June displaying the splendor and wonder of the circus. America may not have created it, but like so many other traditions, we twisted and molded it into an American pastime.

Even if we weren’t crazy about free things and circus-folk, the use of the word Ballyhoo! in the event title is enough convincing for us.

Ballyhoo! A Peek Under the Big Top starts June 8th and runs until July 10th at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St. Free.

Image via highwaygirl67