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Ringling Bros. circus joins Arena lineup

DULUTH - Clowns dribbling basketballs aren't all that entertaining. But doing it upside down, while dangling some 35 feet in the air, now that is a show to see.

This juggling scene, along with a bevy of other thrilling acts that make up the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey's "Greatest Show on Earth" circus, will head to the Gwinnett Arena on Aug. 15-19, arena officials recently announced. Tickets for the show, called Ringling Bros. Gold Tour, will go on sale July 13, and prices have not yet been determined.

This stop in Gwinnett is a first for the circus, which has historically played at larger area arenas, such as Philips.

"We're really excited to have such a great show right here," said Julia Karrenbauer, associate manager of marketing for the Gwinnett Center. "I think we are becoming more established and are now starting to attract these bigger acts."

Just four years after opening its doors, the Arena at Gwinnett Center is celebrating a proud moment: it has become an official player on the Atlanta arena scene. Besides Ringling Bros., the arena announced last month Cirque du Soleil's "Delirium" show will come to Arena on June 8.

"Each year, we're being seen as more of a major player. It's not necessarily that we are trying to take business away from Atlanta," Karrenbauer said. "We just have a lot to offer that some places in the city don't."

Next week's schedule is the biggest in the arena's four-year history, Karrenbauer said. Headliners Christina Aguilera, Ricky Martin and Martina McBride each have concerts scheduled within four days of each other. Aguilera will perform at the arena on Wednesday, Ricky Martin will sing on May 4 and Martina McBride on May 5.