Great art helps you appreciate the beauty around you, and great comedy makes you laugh at life’s little absurdities. In the world-renowned circus performances of Mango and Dango, great art and comedy combine for a few minutes of pure joy at the Western Idaho Fair.
The story of their theatrical circus act begins with a passion for international travel. Both Derrick Gilday (Dango) and Megan Fontaine (Mango) have spent years of their lives performing street acts in South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. And as they developed their act and chemistry together, they studied traditional circus performances and absorbed the world around them.
“As you travel, you start to see patterns,” explains Derrick. “There are these classic characters, roles that we all play from time to time, that have existed for thousands of years. That can all make life mundane. So what we like to do is play off of that.”
Play is probably the key word to their act, which combines traditional circus clowning, juggling, and physical comedy with acrobatics, dance, and aerial arts. It’s fun to watch and authentically joyful—which Derrick thinks resonates especially well with audiences here in the West.
Creating that fun takes lots of work and practice. The pair clocks 14-hour days making the costumes and props for their tours, and developing choreography. But the drive to produce work that celebrates the silliness of life is what keeps them going.
“We were born to do this work, and we’ve been lucky to find our niche,” Derrick says. “And if we can help one person out there find the inspiration he needs to do his thing, to break that boring pattern—or to just be happy—then we’ve done a good job.”
Look out for Mango and Dango roving around the Fairgrounds August 19-28. And for more information about their act, visit mangoanddango.com.
Diva. Escape artist. Affectionate. Muddy.
These are all words that 13-year-old budding rancher Tomie Moody-St. Clair uses to describe one of her 4-H project animals, a pig named Luna. And this year, she’s looking to get one of her spunky pink performers top prizes for showmanship and quality at the Western Idaho Fair.
Showing swine is a lot like walking your dog without a leash. “You take the pig out into the pasture and do a few laps, maybe half a mile to a mile,” says the confident teen. “To make her go forward, you tap her on her side. Right turn, tap on the left side of the neck. Left turn, right side of the neck.”
Sounds easy. Until you consider that Luna and her penmates Medianoche and Estrella will ultimately weigh nearly 250 pounds if Tomie does a good job of feeding them. Right now, the pigs are busy eating, gaining about two pounds a day in preparation for their time in the spotlight.
Tomie’s learned a lot about pigs from this experience so far, including how incredibly smart they are.
“Our pigs have a drinking fountain, but we didn’t want them to build a mud pit underneath it, so we put concrete blocks under there. The pigs took the concrete blocks and moved them in front of the gate so that we’d have to open it outwards—giving them a chance to escape.”
They’re also very affectionate—a trait her younger brother Matthew also really likes.
“I like how the pigs rub up against us and get us all muddy,” Matthew says with a smile. Tomie adds, “My first and second years, the pigs would fall over so we could rub their bellies. They like their noses rubbed, too.”
Tomie got her younger brother into 4-H, and this year, he’s competing against other kids also in their first year of competition. Tomie, meanwhile, is already starting to think about her next 4-H project.
“I think I’ll do sheep next year,” she declares, self-assuredly, like she’s weighed the risks and potential returns. Then she adds, “My mom says they’re cuddly—and I think they’re pretty cute.”
There’s a bunch of ways to see all that the Fair has to offer. And in this, our first out of 5 ways to enjoy the Fair, we give you a sneak peek at all the adorable that awaits your family in the animal areas.
If you have kids, or just love animals, the petting zoo is the ultimate interactive exhibit and photo opportunity. You can feed the animals, or chat with the animal’s handlers to learn about each animal’s personality, what it likes to eat, and what it really takes to raise goats, cows, sheep, and more.
For a hands-on look at farm life, and fun for the whole family, check the Western Idaho Fair animal areas—and don’t forget to take your own legendary Fair selfies!