Lynn is at the heart of a circus war after one operator claimed it had been forced to cancel its event because a rival is coming to the town first.
The Uncle Sam’s American Circus is due to open for a five-day run at the Knights Hill farm shop site on Grimston Road tomorrow.
But managers of the rival Circus Wonderland, which had been due to come to the Walks next week, say they have had to scrap their plans because of it.
Director Paul Carpenter said that, although they have managed to secure an alternative site in Hinckley, Leicestershire, it was a major disappointment for them not to be able to come to the town.
Many relatives of Mr Carpenter’s partner Kriss Freear, who appears alongside him in the show as one of the Popolino clowns, still live in the Lynn area.
And Mr Carpenter said: “It has always been his dream to bring the show to his home town.”
The circus would also have been the first to be staged in the park for three years following talks between the operator and West Norfolk Council, whom Mr Carpenter thanked for its support.
But he claimed it would have been “financial suicide” for them to follow so soon after another circus in such a popular area for the art.
He said: “It’s a luxury going to the the circus and if people have been the week before they won’t think ‘lets go to another’ straight away.
“The council have said that we can speak to them about alternative dates but I know another circus is already booked at Knights Hill in September and another at East Winch in October.
“It’s a nightmare. King’s Lynn is just totally circused out.”
Paul Martinez, the manager and ringmaster of Uncle Sam’s American Circus, said he would have also have been forced to find an alternative site, or take a week off and leave almost 70 staff without pay, if the roles had been reversed.
He said: “Sometimes it can be like that. That’s why we prefer to go somewhere where no-one else has been.”
Although this is the first time he has visited Lynn with the American circus company, Mr Martinez has been with other events and said circus entertainment is still popular with audiences in West Norfolk.
He said: “We find the reaction is always really good. The people of King’s Lynn still like the circus.”
He said he also understood Mr Carpenter’s fears that promotional material for his circus would have been torn down by rivals.
He said they had experienced a similar problem in Hunstanton, though the issue was resolved amicably.