On Saturday, Sept. 14, the Boston Circus Guild will return to Hampton Beach for its popular fire show, giving residents and visitors a chance to close out the summer with an energetic choreographed performance featuring the guild’s expert fire performers.
Professional daredevils will combine exhilarating stunts, graceful movements, and a touch of comedy, all while wielding flaming props. The BCG’s official website boasts that they have “a versatile roster of fully-insured fire performers ready to delight and amaze guests as they spin flaming staffs and swords, juggle blazing torches, and plunge fiery wicks into their mouths!”
If the name “Boston Circus Guild” sounds familiar, that’s because Saturday’s fire show follows a successful night of circus acts by the same company at the Sea Shell Stage earlier this month, where an estimated 4,000 people came out to see one of Hampton Beach’s most anticipated shows of the summer. The group is a collaborative organization consisting of dozens of musicians, artists, circus performers, dancers, and event producers from across New England.
“There were a lot of very young children and young parents and the kids were mesmerized by it and they were behaving like it was Christmas Eve, kind of star-struck. It really went well,” Hampton Village commissioner Robert Ladd said about the Aug. 31 show.
The fire show — put on in partnership with the Town of Hampton Recreation Department, Experience Hampton, the Sea Coast Chamber of Commerce, and the New Hampshire State Parks — is another in a long list of performances meant to bring the Hampton Beach community together for a night of family fun.
“One of the things I like about the fire show is we get co-sponsorship from the other major players in the town. So we make this an attempt to bring different parts of the community officially together to do something collectively,” Ladd said.
It’s meant to offer audiences something a little different than what they might be used to seeing at Hampton Beach. Younger audience members have given the company’s previous fire shows rave reviews, and they aren’t the only ones. Reader’s Digest named Hampton Beach as New Hampshire’s best state park in its August issue — largely because of its entirely free, family-friendly performances like the ones put on by the Boston Circus Guild.
“My feelings toward the fire show come out of my having seen what we do in other ways. You know, we have bands, they may play different forms of music, but it’s music. We have fireworks every week, and fireworks are fireworks. So we’re looking for some alternative to what we do all the time, to add to what we do,” Ladd said. “It’s very rewarding to see hundreds of preschool-age children sit there just totally fixed. They were so intensely watching what was going on. They didn’t move. And you know, 3-year-olds don’t tend to sit still for too long.”
The show starts at 8 p.m. on the beach and is free and suitable for adults and children of all ages.
“It’s a good feeling when it’s a little bit like when you can play Santa Claus to a large audience. There is a really good feeling you get from being able to do that. Being able to share these things,” Ladd said.
— Elyse Carmosino