Circus Vargas

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Circus Vargas 2016

Circus Vargas is an American circus based in California. It was built with the intent of bringing an old time circus to everyone; it is billed as one of the world's biggest traveling circuses still using a big top tent. Owned and operated by Tabáres Entertainment, the circus produces a truck circus show throughout the western United States; thanks to the closing of the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus in 2017, their tour will expand to the rest of the country.


Clifford E. Vargas (1924-1989) founded Circus Vargas in 1969. Vargas was influenced to restart the big top tent circus from his childhood fascination with glamour and thrills of old circuses. He was a frequent spectator with big top tent circuses that visited his hometown of Livermore, California every year. Vargas, the son of Portuguese immigrants, grew up on a farm near Livermore. He got a job in Chicago as the ticket seller, doorman and later ringmaster. Vargas saved money, and in 1972 purchased controlling interest in the Miller-Johnson Circus. The show was small to start, but grew, Circus Vargas at its peak was using the largest circus tent, the size of a football field, which took thirty men seven hours to raise.[1][2][3]

After the death of Clifford Vargas in 1989, the show management went to Jack Bailey, longtime Vice President of the company; and Joseph Muscarello, the show's general manager. Bailey sold his interest to concession manager Roland Kaiser. Kaiser and Muscarello, both longtime friends of Vargas and management executives with the show, began managing the circus. Faced with rising costs and declining attendance, Kaiser and Muscarello changed the circus into a more intimate one-ring 'European style' circus. They ran the circus until retiring in 2003. Circus Vargas then went on hiatus while looking for a buyer. In 2005, Husband and wife Nelson & Katya Quiroga (née Arata) proudly became United States citizens, and founded their production company, Tabares Entertainment, Inc. They now proudly present Circus Vargas. In 2010, Circus Vargas discontinued its animal acts. [4]

With the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus concluding their final "Greatest Show on Earth" in May 2017 after 146 years, Circus Vargas will continue its big top tradition.

Television and movie appearances[edit]

Note: this list is not exhaustive.


  1. ^ LA Times, Clifford E. Vargas, 64; Kept Circus Under Tent, September 06, 1989
  2. ^, Cliff Vargas, Dec. 7 1924 - Sept 4, 1989
  3. ^ The Pioneer, Circus Vargas in California, by Gary Pilecki - Justin Pilecki, August 4, 2011
  4. ^ Circus Vargas History
  5. ^ "Kidsongs A Day at the Circus". Kidsongs. TAP. Event occurs at 21:36. ASIN B00006LPE2.

External links[edit]