This captivating display of HO scale circus equipment was crafted by Gregg Kruse of Iowa City. Mr. Kruse turned to model making after a career as a lab tech at the Veteran’s hospital…which helps explain his interest and skill at working in such a small scale. Because of the small scale and the number of pieces, Gregg’s diorama depicts a more comprehensive circus layout including a circus parade, a menagerie show and the back lot. The setting is a medium-size Midwestern city during the first half of the 20 th century when circuses traveled from town to town via the railroad.
The “story” of the diorama starts with the portrayal of a circus parade going up and down Main Street. The line-up includes bands, animal wagons, calliopes, and floats in addition to baggage style wagons that have been decorated to make them suitable for the parade. The last wagon (a calliope of course!..) is shown leaving the circus grounds to join the parade. As you continue to “read” the scene, you arrive at the entrance to the circus grounds with a ticket wagon ready and waiting for the onslaught of circus patrons who will appear after the parade is over. After purchasing a ticket, visitors will have access to the next element in the display…a menagerie of caged and corralled animals lined up in an orderly “zoo-like” manner. After passing through the menagerie, visitors will line up at yet another ticket wagon where admission to the show may be purchased. Continue “reading” and you will walk between a line-up of baggage and utilitarian working wagons. You will then see smaller tents, also of a utilitarian nature (a kitchen, dining hall, staging tent etc.), clustered around your ultimate destination: the big top.
In addition to the parade, menagerie, back-lot layout, the display features an array of additional rolling stock including band and calliope wagons, floats and tableau wagons, mechanical equipment, baggage and working wagons.
All-in- all, Gregg’s Grandiose Miniatures is more than a nostalgic walk down memory lane and more than a colorful exhibit of one man’s excellent handiwork. It is an education!