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The Big Apple Circus raises the roof of the Big Top at Northshore Mall

Big Apple Circus tent raising

The Big Apple Circus crew raises the tent at Northshore Mall on Friday.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

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Big Apple Circus tent raising

Peabody Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. speaks with Big Apple Circus CEO Gregg Walker before pushing the button and raising the tent on Friday.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

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Big Apple Circus tent raising

Two members of the Big Apple Circus crew wait for the tent raising.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

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Big Apple Circus tent raising

Peabody Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr., right, and Big Apple Circus CEO Gregg Walker, left, get ready to raise the tent with the help of tent master Michael Leclair.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

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Big Apple Circus tent raising

Tent master Michael Leclair, who has been working with Big Apple Circus since 2000, patiently waits with the switch that will raise the circus tent.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

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Big Apple Circus tent raising

The Big Apple Circus crew raises the tent at Northshore Mall on Friday.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

Purchase Photo

Big Apple Circus tent raising

The Big Apple Circus tent stands at 63 feet high with a circumfrence of 440 feet.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

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Big Apple Circus tent raising

The Big Apple Circus tent stands at 63 feet high with a circumfrence of 440 feet.

(Photo by Spenser R. Hasak)

Purchase Photo

PEABODY — The Big Apple Circus raised the roof of the Big Top at Northshore Mall on Friday morning. Gregg Walker, CEO of the circus, and Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. helped tent master Mike Leclair push the button to electrically raise the Big Top. (There were no elephants pulling ropes, like in the olden days.) Several city councilors were on hand as well.

Bettencourt announced Friday was Big Apple Day in the city, and Walker said ticket sales are exceeding expectations.

The Big Apple Circus’ 41st anniversary show will begin on Thursday, April 4, and run through Sunday, May 5, playing under the Big Top at the mall.

Soaring 63 feet high at its peak, with a circumference of 440 feet, the gleaming white tent with glowing yellow stars spiraling over the roof and sides can accommodate more than 1,700 people.

The heated tent is supported by four masts 50 feet tall, from which is suspended a 12-sided cupola frame with a diameter of 50 feet. Ninety-eight side poles measuring 16 feet high support the periphery of the tent. The 35-person tent crew takes up to eight hours to raise the Big Top before the ring, seating, lighting and sound systems can be installed.

Tickets and performance schedule are available at www.bigapplecircus.com.

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