The only three-ring circus in North America rolls into Columbia County on June 29. Its co-founder and ringmaster hopes it won’t be the last circus. “A lot of people have forgotten what the circus is, especially the younger generation,” said Justin Loomis of Loomis Brothers Circus. “Our job is basically reminding everybody and informing them. Once they know what it is, they want to go.”

Loomis and his father started their circus in 1997, drawing on decades of experience in the business through both performance and event promotion for traveling shows. About 50 employees work for Loomis Brothers, including the acrobats, aerialists, animal trainers and clowns that help form the core of a traditional circus show.

Circuses once commanded the attention of entire communities. With exotic animals and daring performers, large performance troupes swept into towns by railroad and paraded down streets lined with curious onlookers.

When Loomis’ father and great-uncle performed in traveling circuses decades ago, crowds of 10,000 people weren’t unusual, Loomis said. In more recent years, “what we were getting, 1,000 people or 2,000 people if we were lucky.”