Ho ho ho! Step right up Ladies and prepare to be amazed by Zurich’s very own Christmas Circus Conelli!
You know the one…Quintessential red tent with bright yellow stars, pops up every year on that little peninsula in the Limmat (serves roast chicken and fries in the summer) and that, like us, you’ve probably seen countless times on your way to Bellevue and wondered, is that really a circus? A Christmas circus?
This year curiosity finally got the better of us and we decided it was time to find out for ourselves. The answer? Well, if we take Wikipedia’s definition of a circus – a company of performers that may include acrobats, clowns, musicians, hoopers, jugglers, trapeze acts, object manipulation and stunt oriented artists – than Circus Conelli certainly fits the bill.
This year’s aptly named “Magical Conelli’ was indeed hair-raising, entertaining, toe-tapping, holiday magic! An award-winning troupe of gravity-defying Russians; a totally ripped contortionist who looks like he doubles as Tarzan on the off season; a drunken sailor super juggler; magicians pulling pigeons out of everywhere, clowns that bear a striking resemblance to Laurel and Hardy, and many more wow moments we won’t share now ‘cause…where’s the magic in that?
Here are our tips if you do decide to make Conelli part of your holiday celebration. Enjoy gals!
Set up like a traditional one-ring circus – tiered seating almost completely in the round, with one side used as the entrance – there’s almost not a bad seat in the house. Only know that the closer you are to the ground, the more intimate the performance, the more comfortable the chair and the less likely you will bump elbows with your neighbor. The higher you go, the less wiggle room you’ll have and the harder it may be on your bum; but hey, at least you get a better overall view with your reduced fare. Tickets range from 23.65 (kids under 12) and 97.10 CHFS and you can book over the phone or online. They offer matinees and even a VIP package if you’re feeling very important this season.
Nein. This is a circus that showcases human talent, so the only animals you’ll see take the ring are a few aforementioned pigeons.
Absolutely! The entire two and a half hour show (including standard intermission time) get their own live soundtrack courtesy of the fantabulous Alex Big Band, a handsome lounge singer named Pino Gasparini and four uber talented American ladies called the Gospels. And yes, they sing loads of Christmas carols you’ll likely recognize – just like home.
Where’s the Christmas part?
It’s more of an ambiance thing. It’s in the décor, the music and the overall festive atmosphere. There’s also a pianist playing holiday classics during the intermission from, dare we say, an interesting location.
Muss ich Deutsch sprechen?
Not necessarily. Lucky for non-native speakers, the German bits are limited to the welcome introduction and a few standard announcements regarding cell phone usage and flash photography. As you can imagine, the performances are basically language-free except for the Gaston und Roli clown skits. These are done in high German and apparently very well, as the entire tent was LOL.
Food and drinks?
Yes! For standard Swiss prices you can grab sandwiches, popcorn, nuts, chocolates, etc. and a variety of drinks from water to coffee to champagne. They also have the option to organize group dinners during the show. Check their website for details.
Yes, but keep in mind that everyone will be checking coats so give yourself some extra time to stand in line. Or simply avoid it by keeping yours in your lap.
Gold star on the cheek?
YES. It is Zurich’s Big Top on the Limmat’s way of putting a silly smile on your face and letting you take some Conelli magic home with you.
Absolutly. All ages are welcome…bring the kiddos along!
So Girlfriends, step right up! That red tent with the gold stars is waiting…
Circus Conelli Event Information
Where: Insel Bauschanzli (map)
This article was contributed by Ana Maria Montero Casty, a Cuban-Spanish-American former broadcast journalist who took a break to live her own story for a change. Married to a Swiss, she currently lives between Zurich and the Engadine Valley as a stay-at-home Mom to a Mini-Me toddler. Looking to restart the creative fire, she is always happy to hear – and share – a good story.
Bio Photo Credit: Nunu
Circus Photo Credit: Circus Conelli