Jim Hamid Sr. grew up in a famed circus family, still has a hand in running the Great Hamid Circus and is president of the Circus Producers Association.
Considering that history, it's more than a little funny that he
four siblings had a childhood without circuses.
"We all were made to have a normal childhood," he
...Jim Hamid Sr.
, George Jr.'s son, got into the family business after a stint in the Army and going to college at La Salle University
But it wasn't the circus business he
got into at first.He
was in charge of public relations and advertising for the Hamid families other holdings, which included Steel Pier in Atlantic City, N.J. and the New Jersey State Fair.
When Jim Sr.'s grandfather was stricken with cancer, Jim's father asked him to take over producing the circus, which meant a life on the road with the big top.
"It was a good business so my father didn't want to give it up," said Hamid
, who admitted wishing at the time his
father hadn't insisted on him taking over."Looking back on it, I'm glad he
did. ... It's been fun."
Hamid's son, Jim Jr., now has the task of producing the circus, and he
has a 3-year-old son who could someday become the fifth generation of the Hamid family to run a circus."I'm hoping he
becomes a doctor myself," Hamid
said with a laugh.
Circus and the Shriners became linked long ago, and Hamid said the Shrine is now the largest producer of independent circuses in the country.
The advantage of being a "sponsored" circus, Hamid
explained, is the Shriners, an offshoot of the Masons, are usually well known in the community and can get the word out about the circus coming to town in a way that's difficult for the circus to do on its own.
"They do wonderful work, they really do," Hamid
With more and more people getting so busy they have no time to give to benevolent organizations like the Shriners, Hamid
can see a day coming in the distant future when there won't be a Shriners group anymore.But he
sees no end for circuses.
"My grandfather used to say there'll always be a circus as long as there are children born," Hamid