This January I had the amazing opportunity to travel with Dan and Betty Butler (AKA my parents) to Monaco to attend the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo, known as Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo in French. This was my second year attending the festival, and once again I was astounded by the way in which the city of Monaco supports and truly gives life to this epic event. Circus posters hang on every street and even shop owners create circus décor in their windows.
The Monte-Carlo festival has been a tradition in Monaco since it was created by Prince Ranier III in 1974. Since then, thousands of talented performers have graced the Chapiteau de Fontvielle, built especially for the festival, to try to attain the highest circus award in the world, the Gold Clown. Today, Prince Ranier’s children, Princess Stephanie and Prince Albert II continue on the tradition. Princess Stephanie is the President of the Festival and oversees much of the operation and planning of the competitions and gala shows.
In a quote from Prince Albert, he eloquently sums up Princess Stephanie’s love and tireless effort to continue the tradition her father set in motion, “Essential to the children, whose laughter drowns out the voice of the clown, it is also an enchanted place where families gather to share moments packed with emotion. Together, they watch, in admiration, the stunts of the acrobats, the clowns, and the animal trainers who demonstrate great respect for the health and welfare of their animals. I am particularly proud that my sister, Princess Stephanie, is successfully perpetuating, with such skill and savvy, the spirit with which our Father imbued this superb event. I would like to pay tribute to the extraordinary work she has accomplished with such dedicated passion, backed by the Monte-Carlo Festivals team, in their pursuit of excellence in the various circus art-forms.”
This entire whirlwind trip, especially the festival, resounds so much with me and I hope with our own circus community because we know and realize just how important and truly beneficial the circus can be. It has been in my life since I was eight years old and to be able to travel across the globe and feel that same sense of community and love of the circus, was really something amazing to behold.