Yay! The circus is in town! Flynn Creek Circus on the Eureka waterfront | Photos: Andrew Goff


Maybe you’ve seen them in Arcata. Maybe you’ve seen them in Fortuna. But this weekend will be your first chance to see them in Eureka. We’re talking about the Flynn Creek Circus, a circus company based out of Mendocino County that is bringing the big top to the Eureka waterfront for the first time ever this weekend. 

“We’re thrilled to be here,” Blaze Birge, co-owner of Flynn Creek Circus, told the Outpost while the crew was setting up the tent near Madaket Plaza Tuesday afternoon. “It’s such a beautiful location. It’s just beautiful on the water.” 

Blaze Birge chats with the Outpost

Born in 2002 in the tiny Mendocino town of Comptche, the Flynn Creek Circus has been touring around California and Oregon since 2014 under the leadership of Birge and her husband, David Jones. The theme of this year’s tour is “Desert Myth,” which Birge said centers around the plot of a nomad wandering through the desert and features most of the things you’d expect to find under a circus big top, including magic, acrobatics, contortionists and more. 

In addition to this being the first year that Flynn Creek Circus is appearing in Eureka, Birge said that the circus is welcoming some new acts this year, including from three different Ukrainian performers. 

One of those performers, Anastasiia Popsulys, a 19-year-old Ukrainian contortionist, is traveling with Flynn Creek Circus for her first time this year, and it is also her first time doing a tour in the U.S. Originally from Kharkiv, Popsulys moved to Kiev, where she studied at the Academy of Circus and Variety Arts for three years. 

With the situation worsening in Ukraine, Popsulys was forced to leave her home and managed to leave the country for Berlin just four days before war broke out. With her family still in Kharkiv, Popsulys said it has been difficult to be so far away, and that she feels worried for her loved ones. She tries to talk to family as much as possible, but it is not always easy when she is on the road. 

“This is hard to have family in Ukraine,” Popsulys told the Outpost during the circus set up near Madaket Plaza on Tuesday. “Everyday I’m thinking about them a lot.”  

Anastasiia Popsulys

While studying at the academy in Kiev, Popsulys met her boyfriend, Maxim Voronin, a magician who is also traveling with Flynn Creek Circus. Voronin’s father, Yevgeniy Voronin, is a world renowned magician and his mother was a contortionist, so Voronin grew up in the circus community. He began traveling the world with his parents when he was just three months old and has learned some of his skills from other famous magicians including Penn & Teller and David Copperfield. “The magic community is very small,” Voronin said. 

Veronin, who is now 20 years old, was actually born in San Francisco, though his family is from Ukraine and he has spent a lot of time there. Voronin has been performing for years, appearing on such big stages as the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, Teatro ZinZanni in Seattle and has opened his own show “History of Magic” in Ukraine. Voronin has really been enjoying working with the Flynn Creek Circus, he said, but it is also difficult for him, having many friends and performers he has worked with living in war-torn Ukraine. 

“It’s very difficult to help them from a distance and we’re doing our best, as much as we can in these hard times,” Voronin said. 

Maxim Voronin

Aside from being worried about their loved ones in Ukraine, Popsulys and Voronin both said that they’re having a great time touring with Flynn Creek Circus and are very excited to be in Eureka, which they said is “very beautiful.” Popsulys said probably her favorite part about being here is being near the ocean, which is a completely new experience for her. Popsulys had never seen the ocean until she came to California to join Flynn Creek and got her first look at the Pacific from the beautiful Mendocino coast. 

“I’m so excited being here and traveling a whole lot,” Popsulys told the Outpost. “I really like my work. I appreciate this time.” 

Birge said that she and the whole crew are pretty happy to be back on the North Coast, after traveling through California during a heat wave. The circus was just in Santa Rosa, where it was “boiling hot,” Birge said, and she is so relieved to be on Eureka’s waterfront, where it is much cooler. 

The main challenge of performing at this location, Birge said, has been getting the tent base into the very hard ground. But even though it took a little extra time and some elbow grease, the crew managed to get everything in place and the classic white and red striped big top is now fully upright in front of Humboldt Bay. Birge said that there is no separate setup crew for the circus and that the performers are also in charge of setting up and breaking down the contraptions.

“The show operates in a very Old World way,” Birge said. “The show is very contemporary, but the lifestyle [and] the business model is very ‘old circus.’” 

Flynn Creek Circus will be dazzling Eureka on Thursday, July 27 through Sunday, July 30. Most of the performances are meant for the whole family, but there are two “adults only” 21 and up shows on Friday and Saturday night. Visit this link for the full show schedule and to purchase tickets. You can also buy tickets at the ticket booth setup near the circus tent.