france italy spain russian emirates japanese chinese portugese 

Birk's flea circus at the Oktoberfest

The "smallest circus in the world" raises its tent again at the Oktoberfest.

After 20 years of collaboration, Robert Birk had taken over the circus from Hans and Ingrid Mathes. In 2012, It will be his eighth participance at the Oktoberfest. His "predators" pull small carriages, ride mini-roundabouts, play football, and his ballerinas are called „Reserl"," Wilde Hilde "and "Gretl". had a talk with the ringmaster. How long does it take for a training number to become routine and how long does a flea live?

Robert Birk: A flea lives about a year but it cannot be trained before it's six months old. Because this is when its learning period starts. Such trainings last between eight to 14 days and only the female fleas are being trained - simply because they are bigger and stronger. How strong can such a tiny flea be?

Robert Birk: "Stark August" (Strong August), for example, pulls a small carousel, which weighs 25 grams, without further ado. This is approximately 20,000 times its own weight. If we wanted to do something like that, we would have to pull a fully loaded boxcar along the rails. How many fleas can we expect at this year's Oktoberfest? And how many performances will you give per day?

Robert Birk: There will be around 50 to 70 tied down fleas and around 100 fleas without collars. Why are they tied down, you might ask? So the visitors don't feel itchy after the show. Also, there will be up to three performances in an hour, but on very busy days, that number may come up to 24 performances. What do you expect from this year's Oktoberfest and its visitors, especially the ones who will come to see your circus?

Robert Birk: We, all performers, expect a peaceful and enjoyable time without fighting, being overly intoxicated and especially not causing trouble in front of my tent. I hope that the visitors in general won't be just interested in the carnival attractions that take them higher-faster-further but also in the historic and traditional content Oktoberfest has to offer.


On the internet: