If you had a yen for sideshow freaks, fortune tellers, guys with whips and all the popcorn and cotton candy you could stuff into yourself, the place to be Saturday was The Hartford Club for the Mark Twain House & Museum's "The Greatest Gala on Earth."
"I bought a pretty dress and ended up taking it back for this," said a smiling executive director Cindy Lovell who traded traditional finery for a much more commanding ringmaster's outfit complete with a vest with plenty of bling, top hat and black cane. "I figure I am the ringmaster for the Mark Twain House and keep them all in line so why not dress the part!"
Guests were welcomed by weight lifters and unicycle riders and once inside there were seances, mystics, palm readers and soothsayers.
And what would Twain think?
"Mark Twain wrote about Spiritualism and the circus," said communication director Jacques Lamarre. "He's like all of this."
And as guest after guest arrived with most sporting circus-themed wear, the obvious question was, if you did run away to the circus what would you want to be?
"I'd probably want to work in the concession stand," joked the caped Lamarre who served as mystic of the night.
"I'd want to be the trapeze artist," said Judy Brault who arrived in her Western wear with her husband and make-believe circus sharpshooter Greg Brault. "It would be exciting and they have the nicest costumes."