I saw this on the Cranford Families Facebook page this evening. The Zerbini Circus, a small family outfit that has the animal equivalent of a petting zoo (a camel being the largest) is now no longer welcomed at the Hillside Avenue School grounds due to “Public Pressure” to “protect the animals”.


A video is posted of a handler with an elephant.

The Zerbini Circus doesn’t have elephants. Elephants cost a fortune to feed, and the Zerbini outfit wouldn’t have the means to transport them anyway. They rely on vehicles and trailers. The Ringling Bros. could do the elephants because they traveled by rail.

This whole thing is stupid.

And no, I am not pro-animal cruelty.

But I am not okay with Raymond Lesniak, who could probably be accused of political cruelty for his decades of misrepresenting the needs of his constituents and wasting our money while enriching himself and his friends, telling us who we can and can’t have performing in our town.

He is not the arbiter of what is proper and improper.

Raymond Lesniak is ANTI-PETTING ZOO.

His phone call should not be euphemistically called “public pressure”.

Interested, I looked at the Zerbini Circus website. To see if they had a gap during the last week in June when historically, they would come to Cranford.

They don’t.

They will be performing in Fonda, NY.

You can see for yourself.


Coincidentally, I know Fonda, NY. It is about an hour west of Albany and they have a popular fairgrounds and dirt race track that is often busy. They also do things like demolition derbies.

And every August they have a huge fair that includes many things Mr. Lesniak would find reprehensible.

Like the judging of rabbits, pigs, cows and chickens of local 4H member children. The animals are kept in pens, cages and stalls for the duration of the fair so people can look at them and judge them for themselves (what this does for the animal’s self-esteem must be beyond psychologically damaging).

Racing piglets around a track.

Equestrian events including jumping.

Rodeo events, including calf roping.

If he got worked up about the Zerbini Circus, he’d have an absolute episode if he saw this.

Or what rural upstate New Yorkers would call it, “normal”.

So I am trying to reconcile this. The whole late June period the Zerbinis will be performing in upstate New York. I’ve never paid much attention to their schedule in the past, I would just notice when they would be setting up at Hillside. I’ve gone a few times and found it harmless and somewhat kitschy; and appropriate for little kids. In our travels, I have seen their ads elsewhere for local shows. One time I noticed one in Shippensburg, PA only a day or two before they came to Cranford. So they get around.

Did someone tell them they weren’t welcome anywhere in NJ?

And obviously, New York does not seem to think that they are brutal masters of their animals.

So we continue here in NJ with meddlesome and worthless politicians who are anti-fun, and come up with thin reasons for being that way.

I will remember this: If the wind was right in the evening, we could hear the ringmaster announce “Annnnd may all your daaaaysss be circusss daaaaays” from our back porch which was a considerable distance from Hillside.