HAVRE – The King Cole Circus scheduled for next week has been canceled.
The circus was supposed to take place Thursday, April 25, at the Great Northern Fairgrounds in Havre.
“It was going to be a great event for our fairgrounds and something that we hadn’t seen in a long time,” Great Northern Fairgrounds board chairman Tyler Smith said.
Smith said he has not been able to get in touch with the representative from the King Cole Circus after seeing the company removed event dates from their website.
Smith was contacted by the Kalispell fairgrounds, who were supposed to host the same circus company the week before. They are having the same problems.
“That prompted us to follow what Kalispell had done and inform the public that there was not going to be a circus at our fairgrounds,” Smith said.
Smith added Great Northern Fairgrounds researched the company and when they booked them, the company name was relatively clean.
“We did a little due diligence on the internet. It was only after an email from the Kalispell fairgrounds that it became apparent that this guy operated under different names. When we went digging to find out perhaps, it wasn’t the truth,” Smith said.
He does not believe it was a scam, just that the company may have went bankrupt.
“I believe the circus is a real thing. It’s probably run by someone that doesn’t make great financial decisions and to come way out west from Florida was probably more than he could bear and he abandoned it,” Smith said.
Smith said he understands people in Hill County are upset.
“There’s a lot of money and effort that goes in to putting on these events. It’s not easy to do it. So when an entity comes along and wants to provide entertainment for the people of Hill County and surrounding counties, we generally get pretty excited about that,” Smith said.
Smith urges those who bought tickets to call their bank and file fraud charges.
“I don’t know if very many tickets were sold. We don’t have that data. Maybe no one had bought tickets yet but there’s no way for us to know,” Smith said.
The fairgrounds next event is the antique show at the end of May.
Story by Elizabeth Transue, MTN News