July 19, 2002 – There'll be no lions, tigers or polar bears, but dogs, horses and peacocks will perform with the Suarez Brothers Circus, which will open on St. Thomas with a show at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Lionel Roberts Stadium.
The circus will be arriving on St. Thomas by boat on Saturday from Puerto Rico, where it has been performing for months, Caswil Callender, V.I. Carnival Committee executive director, said on Friday afternoon.
On St. Thomas, there will be one show nightly this coming Tuesday through Thursday, and July 29-Aug. 1, he said. On Friday; July 26, and Saturday, 27, there will be shows at 5 and 8 p.m., and on Sunday, July 28, there will be shows at 2, 5 and 8 p.m.
Admission will be between $10 and $20, with three sections of seating that will accommodate 2,000 people, Callender said. He said he would announce specific ticket prices this weekend.
Callender had said that the circus would spend about two weeks on St. Thomas, then travel to St. Croix. The performance venue and schedule for St. Croix have not been announced.
The Mexican circus is making its way to the territory after two weeks of controversy concerning its use of six polar bears as performers. Numerous animal-rights groups have charged that the bears, out of their Arctic element in the tropics, are victims of animal cruelty. However, a federal inspector reported that they were being cared for adequately in Puerto Rico.
On Monday, Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Dean Plaskett announced that he had denied the circus a permit to bring the bears into the territory, and Callender announced that the Suarez Brothers had agreed to bring the circus without the bears. See "The show will go on — but without the bears".
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