FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — The Royal Hanneford Circus came to the Pee Dee Sunday, transforming the Florence Center into the big top.
“As soon as the spotlight light hits this curtain and the performers come out for the beginning of the show, you can feel the electricity,” said Timothy Tegge, the circus ringmaster. “I’m thinking about it right now and it sends chills up and down my spine.”
Tegge said he grew up in the circus and can’t imagine a bigger thrill than performing live in front of an audience.
“I will never get tired of this until the day I die,” Tegge said. “I will go to the grave with a smile on my face for this reason.”
Crews arrived Saturday and finished setting up the three rings inside the Florence Center early Sunday morning. One family came all the way from Cheraw to see the show.
“I love it because it harkens back to a simple time,” Timothy Rogers said. “These people have honed their bodies and do a performance craft that could get lost if people don’t give it the respect it deserves.”
Motorcycles, trapeze artists and more took the stage. Audience members looked on and enjoyed some classic circus food.
“I’m excited to sit here, watch the greatest show and enjoy my cotton candy,” Laney Rogers said.
Tegge said the Hannefords are the oldest established circus family, with origins dating back to the 1600s. He said they hope to return to Florence in the spring, but in their signature tents instead.
“When we leave here, we tear it all down and then we move to the next town,” Tegge said. “It’s like something out of a fairy tale. For me, it’s Camelot.