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The Kelly Miller Circus will be back
 in town this summer

Ashley Andyshak
Frederick News-Post

(12/15) Commissioners voted 4 to 1 Monday to invite the Oklahoma-based show for a May 30 performance, despite protest from one resident and a commissioner.

In 2007, the circus was well-attended and the town had positive feedback from families in attendance, Mayor Jim Hoover said. The town did not host the circus last summer because the only available date was the night of the annual Mother Seton School carnival, he said.

Kelly Miller management will provide seats, tents and personnel, and the town will be responsible for water, trash receptacles and a $290 reservation fee. The town will keep a percentage of ticket sales in its general fund, Hoover said.

Emmitsburg resident and Frederick County Planning Commission member Catherine Forrence was the only member of the public to speak against the show.

Forrence said the town shouldn't use public money to benefit a private business, or be involved in a fundraising operation. She also said the town should not charge residents a fee to attend a show their tax dollars have paid for.

"It just seems contrary to what a municipal government is supposed to be," she said.

Forrence also cited a section of the town charter that charges commissioners to prohibit the "running at large of animals in the streets or public places" and to prevent cruelty to animals.

Commissioners President Chris Staiger said he supports bringing the circus to town as an activity for families.

In response to Forrence's concerns about fundraising, he said the town pays for extra police coverage for events like the Mother Seton carnival, which is a fundraising event for the school.

Commissioner Cliff Sweeney said the town charges an admission fee for its publicly funded pool, and commissioner Denise Etris said the town uses taxpayer money to pay the bands featured in the town's summer concert series.

However, admission to those shows is free, she said.

Before her nay vote, Etris said she disapproves of any circus that includes animals.

She said she has researched several shows that feature human performers but was not able to gather concrete information before Monday's meeting.

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