I have no idea how this subject came up, but Larry and I were talking about circus trains, and had I ever seen one? (He grew up in Hawaii where there were no trains--can you imagine?) But yes, when we lived in St Cloud, we were about a half block from the Great Northern tracks, and once or twice we saw real circus trains.
In about 1956 or 57, dad took his 4 daughters to a circus at the old Rox Ballpark in St Cloud. It might have been to give mom a breather (Allan was born in August, 1956 ☺). I remember understanding that this was an "economy" circus, not a 3-ring affair....there was one act at a time, out in the middle of the field: a man with dogs, a man with a tiger, a woman with birds...no ringmaster, and almost no props....lol The last act we saw was a woman wearing a net skirt over a bathing suit. She came out leading a large monkey, and the act seemed to be getting him to do fairly stupid tricks. The monkey was more and more reluctant to do what she wanted, until finally, he pulled her skirt off, and darted for the stands. NOW, the drama began. Was the monkey real? Or, was he a man in a monkey suit? And, would/could a monkey hurt little girls?
LOL...we carried on till dad took us home...even he wasn't sure if it was real or not.
(BTW, this was a traumatic event for me--and poor Larry had heard it all before, so he was googling "Circus, St Cloud, Mn 1955-1957". INCREDIBLY, he found a copy of Billboard Magazine from July 1957 with ◄this article!
I don't know if "Gil Gray" was the circus we saw or not, but TG we never went to a circus again.
Oh, and here're three photos of the Rox Municipal Ballpark in St Cloud. It was torn down in 1971 to make room for a shopping center.
(Remember when there were TREES along Division Street?)