Elise Gebhart made a sad little clown, but her frown turned into a smile when she became the new ring master in "Circus, Circus."

Elise Gebhart made a sad little clown, but her frown turned into a smile when she became the new ring master in "Circus, Circus."

Ninety-six third-grade students at Beacon Elementary donned the costumes of lions, clowns, acrobats and even fire-eaters in order to present their first 25-minute musical for the rest of the students in their Hilliard school on April 17.

A repeat performance of "Circus, Circus" was provided for the community on April 19 during the sixth annual Fun Fair.

Music teacher Nicole Mazon was proud of the work her students invested in the published school production by John Jacobson and John Higgins.

She said the students started practicing the five or six songs featured in the show back in March.

The plot of the show revolves around the ring master, who falls ill with laryngitis and needs a replacement, for the "big show."

While the original ring master is never introduced to the audience, Mazon said, he is frequen-tly alluded to during the performance.

A number of potential replacements sing solos in an attempt to land themselves in the coveted role as ring master.

It was Gebhart who was named the ring master when she, saddened by not being able to make the audience laugh like the other clowns involved in a whacky dance routine, seemed well suited for her new role.

Hailey Scott, one of the third grade students and the first to audition as the ring master, performed her first singing solo for the audience during "Circus, Circus."

"It's a little bit of a variety show with music," Mazon said, explaining that its carnival atmosphere lent itself to the Fun Fair already planned by the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).

Sue Summers, who chaired the Fun Fair with Lori Gossman and PTO President Melinda Wintrich, was in agreement.

While the musical got the five-hour Fun Fair off to a fast start by being held in the gymnasium, Summers said, they had carnival games in various classrooms.

The plan was to have giant inflatable slide outdoors with a moon walk, if the weather permitted, but inside the community was engaged in games, face painting, hair coloring and a cake walk.

"The library was filled with silent auction items and prizes," said Summers.

Fourteen vendors, ranging from food and crafts to baby items and rubber stamps, were set up in the hallways.

"It is a fundraiser," she said of the event.

Summers, who recently assumed the role as substitute secretary at the elementary, said she has not been as involved in the PTO recently as she has been in the past, but she does not think it has a big project in mind this year. The funds from the Fun Fair will go into the PTO budget to help with a number of activities it sponsors at the school.

The Fun Fair has always been a success, she said.

"The families love it and the staff loves it," said Summers, who has worked with it since its inception. "It is our biggest event for volunteers for the year."

Parents and teachers fill more than 300 hours of service in helping with the Fun Fair, according to Summers.

Some people volunteer one hour and others give five.

She said they have never had a good count on attendance because those entering do not have to have a pass.

All of the doors of the school are open to the community, neighbors, families, friends and other schools.

While at the Fun Fair they dine on carnival-style foods such as hot dogs, snow cones, popcorn and cotton candy.

That's why it tied in with the third grade program.

"We have our fifth-grade talent show in February," Mazon said, "and the third-grade spring program and that wraps us up for the year."

She said she never knows for sure what her students will be doing the following year, but last year it was "Bugs."

"It's whatever I'm in the mood for," she said, "and we are learning the songs in music class."