Circus Ring of Fame Wheel Plaque

McCary, Wayne

Inducted into the Ring of Fame: 2024

Circus Profession: President of Eastern States Exposition, Circus Producer, World Circus Federation, Circus Historian

Wayne McCary Circus Ring Of Fame Foundation inductee


Biography of Wayne McCary

Growing up near Ocean Beach Park in New London, Connecticut,

Wayne’s fascination with circuses began at a young age. Travel

with his uncle, the city’s Fire Marshall, provided a unique opportunity

to see the outdoor amusement industry from behind the scenes . . .

further strengthening his love of the circus.

Shortly after graduating from the University of Hartford and serving

in the Connecticut National Guard, he joined Lordly & Dame, a

Boston talent agency, and began to book circus talent in the

Northeast. At that time, he began supplying acts for the Maine

Shrine Circus dates, which he continued for forty consecutive years, and his Royal

International Circus, which he first brought to The Big E’s Coliseum in 1970.

In 1989, he moved his circus from the Coliseum to a one-ring European-style big top

tent. It became known as “The Big E Super Circus” in 1999.

To salute and recognize legends in the circus world who performed at The Big E, in

2003, he established The Big E Walkway of Circus Stars . . . an attractive brick area

that is the entrance to the big top tent. Each “star” is recognized with a large granite

paver embedded in the walkway. Circus stars saluted include Dolly Jacobs, Mark

Karoly, Sylvia Zerbini and Alesya Goulevich as well as Tommy & Struppi Hanneford and

Fr. Jack Toner. In 2009, The Big E staff surprised and saluted Wayne with his own star

on the walkway!

In 2008, he traveled to Monte Carlo representing the Outdoor Amusement Business

Association (OABA) to help develop and create the Federation Mondial du Cirque . . . a

world circus organization led by Princess Stephanie of Monaco. He became vice

president of the Federation in 2009 . . . a title which he still holds today.

Wayne is the namesake for two Circus Fans Association of America (CFA) tents:

Wayne McCary Tent No. 172 in Massachusetts and Minert DeOrlo-Earl Family-Wayne

McCary Tent Np. 30 in Maine.

Wayne’s circus accomplishments received recognition in John. H. McConnell’s “A

History of the Shrine Circus” and Robert L. Parkinson’s “Directory of American Circuses

1793-2000” books. He is also the subject of a book by Bob Goldsack, author and former

editor of the White Tops magazine entitled “Behind the Scenes . . . Eastern States

Exposition, West Springfield, Mass . . . and the Story of New England’s Mr. Show

Business, Wayne McCary.” His life story in the circus business is also the subject of

two feature articles by Lane Talburt in Bandwagon magazine, Vol. 57 No. 5 & 6, Sept –

Dec 2013 and the White Tops magazine, Vol. 93 No. 1, Jan/Feb 2020.