True Story: A Host Tells All

partner-for-profitsLions Club member Alex Roberts in Wooster, Ohio has hosted the Carson & Barnes Circus seven times since 1994. Being invited back is the highest compliment a host can pay the Circus.

When the Circus is successful in your town, everyone benefits. The Circus continues to survive and thrive, extending a 100+ year tradition, and communities across the nation have an opportunity to bring a wholesome, all-American, one-of-a-kind live entertainment event that families can enjoy and remember forever. For the host, your Circus event can be the biggest moneymaker of the year and create a positive, meaningful experience for children of all ages.

Mr. Roberts understands from experience that working with the Carson & Barnes Circus is a team effort. Working together, an organization and the Circus can establish a regular major event that has incredible potential to provide the funds needed to drive local projects in a very big way.

Here’s what Mr. Roberts told a fellow Lions Club member asking if he would recommend the Carson & Barnes Circus:

“We have hosted the Carson & Barnes circus 7 times and will be hosting them on July 17 this summer. One year, we hosted a different circus and will NEVER do that again.

“C&B are extremely professional from contract signing to clean up. They have been honest, friendly, and profitable. We were nervous about hosting a circus when they first came in 1994. We thought we might be dealing with transients with questionable motives. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

“Carson & Barnes is a relatively small family business. They want to make sure that we have a good experience so that when they come back every 2 to 3 years, that they have somewhere to go. They keep improving their marketing, ticket sale strategies, and the show.

How It Works For Us

“Our town is 25,000 population. Lions club has 88 members, 40 of which are at least relatively active. I have been the Circus chairperson for the last 4 shows. I get 8 people to help me on the committee, 2 for each of these areas:

  • Marketing
  • Member ticket sales
  • Outlet ticket sales
  • Telemarketing ticket delivery


“The Marketing subcommittee would contract with radio, local TV and the local newspaper to run ads that the Circus provides.”

“We get local businesses to sponsor the Circus… a bank and a car dealer give $1,000 each, and we get 5-7 Lions member companies to give $200 each. College Hills Honda is one of our “3-Ring Sponsors” for $1,000. They are begging us to let them do it again because the Circus gives them such good treatment. We would use the $3,000-3,500 to promote the circus, so the club wouldn’t be spending our money to promote.”

Member Ticket Sales

“We give each of our members (the 40 that attend regularly) 10 adult and 10 child tickets and ask them to sell them or buy them. Of course, they can just give them back, but it is a fundraiser so we push (not to the point of any hurt feelings). You really have to track who has which tickets, and collect the money before the Circus. The tickets are like cash. When you settle on Circus Day, they charge you based on how many tickets you return. If you get 1,000 tickets and only turn in 100, they assume you sold 900, and you have to pay them their percentage.”

Outlet Ticket Sales

“This is where we sell most of our tickets, by far. We have a local bank (our sponsor) and a local grocery store (that has 3 locations in our county) sell tickets to their customers. Again, it is critical to count the tickets WITH the manager so that you both agree on how many they start with and how many they return… remember the Circus will charge you for the ones you don’t return.”

Telemarketing Tickets

“The circus has a third party call local businesses (based on a list that you provide, either through your chamber of commerce or phone book) and sell them children’s tickets in bulk. You don’t lose any percentage of the sale by them doing this, you still get 25% of each one.”

“The telemarketing people send you the tickets in envelopes, and your club members deliver the tickets and collect the money from the companies. The best way to do the telemarketing ticket delivery is to separate the tickets into geographical packs of 8-10 per pack, and have the member split them up.”

Profit Potential

“For the last 3 times C&B came to town, we made between $3,000-5,000, net.”

“I’ll have maybe 40-50 hours into it. The member ticket sale people will have 5-6 hours, outlet people will have 3-4 hours each in, and the telemarketing delivery people will have 30-40 hours committed.”

A Strong Recommendation

“I guess if I boiled it down, here’s what I’d say: They are really good people and they put on a really quality and fun show. I take my boys (now 12 & 9 years old) every time they come. Our club makes enough money to give 100 eye exams to underprivileged children, send a disabled boy to Camp Echoing Hills ( a camp for mentally and physically disabled children and adults), and create a TON of goodwill within our community.”

“Believe me, I have better things to be doing at midnight than promoting an out-of-state circus to a stranger; but I am dedicated to the Wooster Noon Lions, I am a huge fan the Carson & Barnes Circus, the Byrd family, and the good that our 2 organizations are able to accomplish.

—Alex Roberts, Wooster Lions Club, Wooster OH

Contact Us

Interested in hosting the circus in your town? Contact us using the form below, or call or email us.

Carson & Barnes Circus
Phone: (580) 326-2233