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The Circus Rolls Into Downtown

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, July 07, 2009, at 06:28AM
Elephant Walk Eric Richardson [Flickr]

The Ringing Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus makes its way to Staples Center on the day of the Michael Jackson memorial service.



The circus rolled into Downtown this morning, but it did so hours before the masses descend on the memorial service for Michael Jackson to be held at Staples Center.

The Ringling Brothers circus begins a five-day engagement at Staples Center on Wednesday, and this morning eleven Asian elephants, some horses, a crowd of trainers and two street sweeper trucks made their way from a rail yard at 25th and Alameda to the Convention Center.

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus travels by rail, so the train can still only park as close as the nearest rail yard. While smaller animals get a quick truck ride across Downtown, the big elephants have to hoof it.

Today that meant a walk through the Fashion District. The early morning parade began at 25th and Alameda, traveling north to Washington, west to Maple, then north to Pico before heading west to the Convention Center. Because of the media setup for today's Michael Jackson memorial service, the elephants came in the back way, traveling up Georgia street before making their way into the garage underneath the Convention Center.

The circus was supposed to load into Staples Center today, but because of the memorial service will get a late stat in preparation for shows that kick off Wednesday.

The tight security in the area was no problem for the line of elephants. One LAPD officer I was standing near joked about needing to see some IDs, but mostly the officers were just entertained to see the giant animals making their way past checkpoints and barricades.

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