Say bye to lions, elephants and tigers. This effort is fully supported by the community and their own dogs – more specifically, pit bulls! When the first Circus in the Parks started back in 1995, it was originally Jeff and Julie’s dog Lola who was a main attraction. Jeff says, “Not every performer was for everybody, but every audience member loved that dog!”

While Lola had a long and happy life and paved the way for her successors, she passed away in 2013. Her memory is still alive and well though, with two other dogs, Junebug, 10 and Rosie Rae, 2 who took her place. And while the dogs are a star attraction, the couple’s son and daughter, Max and Samantha, plus a list of other acrobats, aerialists and clowns are part of this show that draws 15,000 people during its annual 6-week run.

Over the years, the circus has garnered a lot of attention, and they’ve earned close to $1 million which has then been fed back into Chicago’s parks and recreation department. This is such a lovely, and loving idea that’s fun for everyone!