The Florida-based circus whose tent collapsed Monday night in New Hampshire, killing two people and injuring at least 32, is scheduled to perform six shows in Maine in the coming week.

The website of Walker International Events lists two performances scheduled for Sanford on Sunday and four performances scheduled for Hiram on Monday and Tuesday.

The accident Monday happened in Lancaster , New Hampshire around 5:46 p.m. when a severe storm moving through the area blew down the circus tent. New Hampshire fire officials are investigating the accident and trying to determine why the show went on when a severe storm warning had been issued for the area.

Sanford’s director of parks and recreation, Marcel Blouin, said Tuesday he had not been contacted by the circus and did not know whether the Sanford shows would be canceled or rescheduled because of the accident investigation.

The shows, scheduled for 2 and 4:30 p.m. at Blouin Field in Gowen Park, are being hosted by the town’s parks and recreation department. Blouin said the circus has come to Sanford at least twice in the past. He said the staff are “always professional” and leave the circus site as clean as they found it. He said Walker’s tent and equipment are always checked by local fire officials.

“I’m sure they are planning on coming if they can. But I’m sure they have to wait for any investigation to be over before they know they can come,” said Blouin. “At this point I’m just waiting to hear from them.”

Blouin described the circus as “family friendly” with aerial acts, animals, fire eaters and magic. The show also sets up a midway with food and kids’ activities, Blouin said. Last year the circus drew about 1,000 people in Sanford, Blouin said.

“Entertainment like this is hard to find,” said Blouin. “Nobody barnstorms anymore.”

Walker’s website lists shows Monday and Tuesday at Ossipee Valley Fairgrounds in South Hiram. No one from the Ossipee Valley Agricultural Society, which runs the fairgrounds, could be reached for comment Tuesday.

The Walker International Events website lists shows scheduled for Tuesday in Bradford, Vermont, as being canceled. But beginning on Wednesday, the circus’s schedule resumes, according to the website. The traveling circus has August shows scheduled for New Hampshire, Maine and New York. Calls and emails to Walker International Events were not returned Tuesday.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan said the two people who were killed in Lancaster were “a father and a daughter.” Officials have said some of the injured are in serious condition and all have been taken to regional hospitals. The names of the victims had not been released Tuesday. At least 100 people were in the tent when it collapsed.

New Hampshire Fire Marshal Bill Degnan said Tuesday it wasn’t clear why the circus operator proceeded with a show minutes after the National Weather Service put out a severe storm warning. Winds of 60 mph collapsed the tent.

The weather service had issued the warning at about 5:23 p.m. Monday. The show started seven minutes later at the Lancaster Fairgrounds, about 90 miles north of Concord. The storm blew through at about 5:46 p.m. Degnan told the Associated Press it is the responsibility of the circus operator to monitor the weather conditions.

Degnan said he had spoken to representatives of Walker International Events and that they were “waiting for counsel.” Degnan said no request was made to state or local officials for an inspection of the tent. If they were notified, they would have done one, he said.

He said the show would have required a “place of assembly permit,” but to the best of his knowledge, one was not sought. He said those questions would be part of the state’s investigation, as well as the tent’s setup, and a building and fire code assessment. The National Weather Service also was helping to determine what type of wind passed through the area.

Summer thunderstorms can “pop up” in a matter of minutes and cause severe wind or even hail, said Andy Pohl, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray.

Humid spells, as we’ve been having lately, are times to watch out for quick thunderstorms since they feed on moisture, Pohl said.

Metereologists at the weather service get new radar information about weather patterns every four or five minutes, Pohl said, and during that time the track or severity of a thunderstorm can change significantly.

Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

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Twitter: RayRouthier

Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.


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