Shriners Circus Claims Thompson-Boling

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Knoxville (WVLT) -- Thompson-Boling Arena wasn't the stomping ground of Bruce Pearl's basketball Vols over the weekend.

That's because the Shriners Circus made its 31st appearance in Knoxville.

Each of the five shows drew between 16,000 and 18,000 people and was complete with high-wire acts, motorcycle stunts and even the untimely appearance of elephants in Big Orange Country.

The yearly event is the main fundraiser for the Kerbela Temple and all the money they raised went to help sick children get better.

But for local Shriners, it is a chance for the community to come together.

"We have a lot of the children we take to our shrine hospitals," said Wayne Burkett, the circus director, "but as far as just the community of Knoxville and all the surrounding counties, all the nobles that work this from Thursday when we start setting up, till Monday morning at 6:00 AM when its all over with, for us, it's the same thing we always do. It is a volunteer organization and these guys absolutely enjoy it."

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