Coney Island Circus Sideshow

The last traditional 10-in 1 continuous sideshow performing in a circus or amusement context includes a cast of live professional performers, many at the top of their field. Located in the home of sideshow culture, in an official New York City Landmark with its own sideshow pedigree, and offering traditional shows and Sideshow School, our facility is to sideshow culture what the Actor’s Studio is to American acting: we are the International Center of Sideshow Arts.

This work takes place in our facility, Sideshows by the Seashore. It represents the origins of American Theater, starting with PT Barnum in 1842, and continuing through the mid-20th c. changes to entertainment culture with Houdini, Ringling Bros and Ripley’s Believe-It-or-Not and is also the home of the American Sideshow Hall of Fame. The Sideshow/Freakshow is one of our oldest and most important programs and of of the 15-20 different artistic programs we produce, it is the most visible, most egalitarian, and most memorable for visitors to Coney Island.

The continuous 10 in 1 format was once shared by other popular entertainments like burlesque and vaudeville but is quite rare today. All 10 acts are scripted with traditional dialogue going back half a century and the show represents a highly evolved and intricate structure in a field full of street-buskers. In addition, the Sideshow fulfills our goal of creating innovative artistic programming that seamlessly integrates with the fabric of the amusement area, bringing in foot-traffic from all over Coney Island and creating engaging and surprising artistic work for an audience who are not traditional theater-goers. 

Although we are a family friendly show, we also have a reputation for encouraging new directions and trends in our field: this year’s cast will consist of numerous performers, several of which are new to our stage and several visiting artists. In the past, the world's foremost sword swallowers and fire eaters have worked in our cast, and we’re excited to welcome group of assertive young "born different" performers this summer who think the talented and handicapped have as much right to be rock stars on stage as doctors and lawyers. As such, we will be hosting a number of guest performers. In addition to guests, our core cast will include Ray Valenz (MC and human blockhead) and Betty Bloomerz (Sword Swallower).

The 2017 sideshow will remain at an affordable price, in keeping with our mission, although, because of the extraordinary costs of rebuilding after Sandy, we are hoping to find alternative ways of subsidizing this ticket price – through additional memberships, a donation drive at the ticket box, and new ways of communicating who we are to visitors who think we’re just “a part of the amusement park”.


Current Cast:
Ray Valenz
Betty Bloomerz
Nola Star
Justin Weber
Leo The Human Gumby
Zoe Ziegfeld
Wendy Blades
Lydia Wilts

Sal Strange (Outside Talker)
The Texas Talker (Outside Talker)

Special guests: July - Xander Lovecraft

*Please Note: Not all performers perform on the same days


April 15, 16 May 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 29 June 2, 3, 4 Daily June 9 through September 4September 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24.

All hours are subject to weather conditions and the size of the crowd at the amusement park on that particular day; hours of specific performers are also subject to change. The Sideshow is located at 1208 Surf Ave.


Tickets can be purchased at the door only on the day of performance. We do not take reservations for the sideshow. The price is $10 for Adults and $5 for children under 12 years old. We reserve the right to discount our prices and run periodic specials if you can catch one. The show may also stop selling tickets during inclement weather. Please note: Mermaid Parade and 4th of July, all tickets are $10. Our show runs continuously. A complete show takes approximately 45 minutes from the time you enter the show. We do not allow photography, videotaping or sound recording of the show.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.