GAINSBOROUGH'S first circus since a youngster was savaged by an escaped lion more than 30 years ago is set to open tonight (Thursday).
The Bulgarian State Circus will visit the Hickman Bacon Memorial Park as part of its UK tour, and will feature daredevil trapeze artists, clowns, showgirls and magicians.
It will be the first circus to visit the town since the 1970s when a youngster was mauled by an escaped lion.
The tragedy led to the entertainment being banned in the town.
Amanda Russell, trapeze artist and managing director of the Bulgarian State Circus, said it was not the first time the show had tried to perform in Gainsborough.
She said: "We did try to come last year but the council informed us that there was still a ban on circuses in the town.
"This was obviously disappointing for us as we don't use animals in our acts as it is not seen to be correct any more
"But we are delighted to be coming next week because we have a lot of top acts that I know the people will enjoy."
Back in November 1975, Steven Jackson-Parr was savaged by a lion, which escaped from Roberts Brothers' Circus through a tunnel entering the arena.
It was one of five which escaped and went on a rampage attacking circus horses before chasing the 10-year-old in an allotment near Fairway Avenue and attacking him.
The family did not want to comment, but Paul Leeder, clerk for Gainsborough Town Council, which has given the green-light for the show, reassured townsfolk that animals would not be involved.
He said: "There was an obvious delay because of what happened all those years ago.
"The family always objected to a circus with animals coming back to the town but as the Bulgarian State Circus do not use animals they were fine to come.
"It is good that Gainsborough will once again be having a circus."
The 15-strong team behind the circus is based in Mablethorpe and will be travelling across the UK this summer.
Highlights will include the Grigorescu clowns, who won a top performance award in Monte Carlo a couple of years ago, and the Spiderman trapeze artists.
Ms Russell added: "We have never been to Gainsborough before but it is a nice little town and I am sure the people will love the show.