1 Apr, 2022

Stories of Humboldt: Hoffman’s Novelty Circus



Hoffman’s Novelty Circus c. 1935

Trained Bears, Dog, Monkey and Parrot

The Hoffman’s Novelty Circus was an “Indoor Vaudeville and Animal Show” that was “The Biggest and Best Travelling Show from Coast to Coast” and just happened to winter here in Humboldt between 1932 and 1943.

Kids walking home from school past Mike “Monkey” Hoffman’s house and barns on 12th Street would often be late for dinner on spring evenings. It was far too easy to lose track of time when they could stop and watch everything from a contortionist to a roller-skating bear rehearsing for the circus’ summer tour. Kids were always invited to watch these rehearsals for free.

When it came time to hit the road, Hoffman’s Novelty Circus packed up 10 people, 2 bears, 13 dogs, a monkey, a parrot, costumes, scenery, props, musical instruments and all their personal luggage into a convoy of vehicles. They performed an average of 20 shows a month while on tour, earning anywhere from 5 cents at the door (in Clair, SK on Wednesday December 20, 1933) to $292.76 (in Humboldt, SK on Friday, August 27, 1943).

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