An Island family clowns around at the 50th annual MIPA Circus last year. This year’s event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 22 at the high school. Photo courtesy of Julie Keefe/file photo

MIPA’s 51st annual Circus is April 22

One of Mercer Island’s most anticipated and beloved events, MIPA’s Circus, is coming up on April 22.

MIPA [Mercer Island Preschool Association] is celebrating the 51st year of Circus by planning to make a $40,000 donation to the Mercer Island Parks and Recreation Department to help rebuild the South Mercer Playfields Park, or “Rainbow Park.”

“We’re in the process right now of helping to provide input and ideas to the city for how that park can benefit all kids, including preschool-aged kids,” said Beth Dudycha, MIPA co-president with Becky McKanna.

Over the years, MIPA has helped raise money and contribute design ideas for several of the Island’s parks, including Deane’s Children’s Park, the “Train Park” at Mercerdale, Adventure Playground and the Luther Burbank playground.

This year’s Circus will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mercer Island High School. Highlights include performances from Nancy Stewart and Recess Monkey, a magic show, food trucks, pony rides, bouncy houses, face painting, a dunk tank, carnival games and a special raffle to help raise money for the park.

MIPA’s Circus began in 1966 as a Dr. Seuss-inspired carnival called Circus McGurkus for the children of Mercer Island. Since then, it has grown into a festival that attracts hundreds of families from all over Seattle and the Eastside.

MIPA is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the education and well being of children on Mercer Island and in surrounding communities. It makes several donations to local social service organizations, parks and libraries, and provides preschool scholarships to families in need, including about $10,000 per year to Mercer Island Youth and Family Services.

There is no cost to enter the event, however, tickets are sold to participate in games and activities. Activities are appropriate for kids ages 2 to 8. All-access wristbands are sold for $15; pony rides are $5.

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Katie Metzger/file photo