Water under the big top

European traveling circus arrives in Sanford
Oct. 10, 2013 @ 06:04 PM

An underwater and magical world is waiting for Lee County residents underneath a blue and white tent at the Sanford Lions Club Fairgrounds.

Cirque Italia, a traveling, European-style circus, is set to perform in Sanford this weekend, featuring its water stage — capable of holding 35,000 gallons of water — and award-winning performers from across the globe.

Making its first stop in Sanford during its inaugural North American tour, this show is unlike anything people have seen before, said Cirque Italia Administrative Assistant Nichole Fusco.

"The owner, Manual Rebecchi, has a passion for the circus," she said. "He wanted to offer a completely new concept and draw families from smaller towns and communities."

The circus is in Rebecchi's blood, Fusco said, with several of his family members winning prestigious awards for their circuses. He is the nephew of Moira Orfei, Italy's most famous circus personality.

These shows are meant for the entire community, including children, Fusco said. Some of the performers are fifth- or eighth-generation circus performers, and acts include a comedy matador with his dog, a mermaid, high-wire and trapeze artists, human pyramids, clowns, and juggling and prop artists, among others.

"We try to be very interactive with the kids," Fusco said, adding that the show is two hours long.

Antonio Ferreira, an acrobat and comedy performer, said these performances are traditional European circus events people could usually only see while visiting in New York or Las Vegas.

"It's beautiful, and very new," he said. "We want people to visit us, support us and give us applause. We need and love the applause."

The goal of the owners is for their guests to experience an unforgettable performance at an affordable cost, go home dazzled and come back again wanting more, Fusco said.