By Jeff Bahr, email@example.com
1:57 AM EDT, March 28, 2013
If any of the three elephants in the Yelduz Shrine Circus like peanuts, they'll be out of luck at 4 p.m. today
There will not be peanuts in the building for the opening performance of the Yelduz Shrine Circus. No peanuts will be sold. The popcorn will be popped with oil that doesn’t contain nuts. Candy bars containing peanuts will be removed from the building.
This is the first year that the Yelduz Shrine has officially had a peanut-free circus performance. In past years, individuals have saved a few seats for friends at the first circus performance.
This year, a special area will be taped off in the balcony for those with peanut allergies this afternoon. Only the first of the seven performances is a peanut-free event.
That news is good for parents of children who are allergic to nuts.
Jessie Latt’s son, Jared, has a peanut allergy. He is almost 13, so he probably won't go to the circus this year, but Latt said the Yelduz Shrine's decision is encouraging for families with younger children who do have peanut allergies.
“That really takes the anxiety out of the situation for the parents and the children to know that they can have a relatively safe environment,” Latt said.
Some skeptics think people who avoid peanuts are just making it up.
But Latt said that peanut allergies can result in life-threatening situations.
“Even a microscopic amount can lead to death. It just really needs to be taken seriously as a true medical condition,” she said.
Latt said her son has challenges everywhere they go, whether it is in schools or while traveling.
“The Aberdeen school system has been very accommodating to us, although they do not have a ban on peanuts,” she said. As he grows older and has more activities, there are new challenges. “So it's just part of our daily lives,” Latt said.
Nicole Ellingson's son, Landon, “used to have every allergy imaginable,” including an allergy to peanuts, she said. Now age 9, he has outgrown those allergies.
But Ellingson thinks “it's a wonderful and considerate idea for the circus to have a peanut-free performance.”
It is scary, she said, for parents to carry around a device that injects epinephrine, which is used to avoid or treat the beginnings of anaphylactic shock. For parents who have a child with peanut allergies, it is also frustrating that some people just don't understand or accept the problem, she said.
She remembers preparing Landon's food especially for him and buying special food so he would not get sick.
Ellingson knows a lot of parents whose children are so allergic to any kind of peanut substance that if they're exposed to even a hint of it “their throats could swell and they could die.”
Ellingson hopes that people are proud of the Yelduz Shrine. She thinks it's very nice that the Shriners take peanut allergies into account, because it does involve a lot of people, she said.
Yelduz circus chairman Kenny Erickson was asked by a few people to have a peanut-free circus performance. But he stresses that the system is not foolproof. Even though the Shrine will try hard to eliminate peanuts from the Civic Arena, someone could still bring peanuts into the building during the 4 p.m. show, he said.
Yelduz Shrine Circus
Where: Aberdeen Civic Arena.
When: At 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. today, 4 and 8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets: Kids 12 and younger get in free. For adults, advance tickets are $10 and tickets at the door are $12. Advance tickets are available at Ken's SuperFair Foods, Kessler’s and the Yelduz Shrine Center.