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Circus McGurkis back in original form

Published July 18, 2007


Circus McGurkis, the popular longtime St. Petersburg people's fair, will move to Lake Vista Park in October and return to being a full-blown festival with entertainment and vendors.

The event, in its 36th year, was a lower-key "peace picnic" last year. One of its founders, the late Christine O'Brien, was ill, and Dell Holmes Park, the fair's longtime home, was being renovated.

"The city did a wonderful job when they renovated Dell Holmes," said Greg Stemm, a member of the St. Petersburg Society of Friends, which sponsors Circus McGurkis. Organizers have chosen to move it to Lake Vista, at 16th Street S and 62nd Avenue near Lakewood High School, because the space is more accessible and offers ample parking.

All potential vendors will be asked to provide statements about how they can contribute to the cause of peace. Stemm said the concept is intentionally broad and can mean peace among individuals, friends and community.

"It's an eye-opening experience, plus it has a very bohemian kind of atmosphere to it," Stemm said. "It's a very unique event. As Quakers, we're delighted that we can put it on."

The event's theme, "War Is Not the Answer," he said, reflects the five Quaker testimonies, or principles: simplicity, peace, integrity, community and equality.

Circus McGurkis began in the 1970s, during the Vietnam War.

"War wasn't the answer then, and it isn't the answer now," Stemm said.

A day in the park

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 20

Where: Lake Vista Park, 1201 62nd Ave. S

Information: 768-3890; (around Aug. 1).

Those interested in becoming vendors can call 768-3890 for more information. Around Aug. 1, they can register online at

[Last modified July 17, 2007, 21:02:40]

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