The crane truck circus includes a hair-twirling act. (Submitted photo)

The crane truck circus includes a hair-twirling act. (Submitted photo)

Circus coming to Whidbey, then Everett, on a 30-foot crane

Theatrics include the world’s largest wedgie, a flying piano, human ceiling fan and a hair hang act.

Look for a big crane, not a big top, when this circus comes to town.

What’s up with that?

Up Up Up Inc. is a crane truck circus.

The traveling flatbed stage rolls into downtown Everett for a show on Friday on its Pacific Northwest debut tour in Washington and Oregon. Or catch them on Wednesday at the South Whidbey Community Center in Langley.

The aerial theatrics include the world’s largest wedgie, an opera virtuoso, a flying baby grand piano, human ceiling fan and a hair hang act.

It’s not some sort of freak show. These are circus artists.

Jason Webley, an Everett accordion troubadour, is the opening special guest at Friday’s show.

“I’ll sing a few songs and get the crowd warmed up,” he said.

Webley said there is space for several hundred spectators at the vacant lot at 1814 Hewitt Ave., across from Angel of the Winds Arena. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and your own popcorn. There are no concessions, no trinkets to buy, and no animals.

The hourlong show is for all-ages and mostly word-free. Actions speak loud enough.

The cost of admission is a donation, pass-the-hat style.

The circus has seven performers hailing from Washington, Idaho and California.

“They swap in and out of doing amazing feats of strength and comedy, then hop back in to play the piano or the clarinet or drums,” said Up Up Up co-founder Sadye Osterloh, 39, of Bellingham, where the circus is based.

Osterloh spins on the aerial rope and does the giant wedgie, whatever that is.

“That’s all I can say without giving too much away,” she said.

The crane truck cab holds three people for travel. The others go by bicycle.

“I was worried we’d all be exhausted,” Osterloh said.

So far, that hasn’t been a problem.

Over the weekend they did shows at a Chimacum cidery, a Poulsbo retirement center and a park on Vashon Island.

The purpose of the circus, which is seeking nonprofit status, is to entertain at small farms, immigrant communities, dinner parties, nursing homes, women’s shelters and fundraisers.

Osterloh said the circus is the result of “scheming and dreaming and joking about it.”

The truck provides mobility and the crane a means for aerial stunts in urban and remote settings.

People assume it must be some big honking hydraulic truck, she said.

“It’s just this cute little squat truck, a 24-foot-long flatbed Isuzu NPR truck,” she said. “Before we bought it, it was a bee farmer’s truck in Walla Walla.”

The 30-foot crane didn’t come with the truck. It came from the yard of a guy in Oregon who buys big things at auctions.

“The hand-cranked crane was built in 1950 and used for hanging neon signs,” Osterloh said.

Osterloh and two other Up Up Up performers were part of the Flotsam River Circus created by Webley in 2019.

Webley started the floating circus on a hand-crafted 32-foot wooden boat before the pandemic. His Flotsam River Circus traveled on Oregon’s Willamette River two years ago, performing free shows along the way. The pandemic ended plans to do an Ohio River tour last summer.

Now the boat is tied up in front of his Everett home.

“It makes a nice porch,” he said.

Webley’s 2014 indie folk CD and show “Margaret” were inspired by the tragic life of Margaret Rucker Armstrong, daughter of Everett founder Bethel Rucker, based on a scrapbook of her poetry found in a garbage bin in San Francisco.

In 2016, Webley and friends staged a show that retold the tale of the waterfront gun battle known as the Everett Massacre on Nov. 5, 1916, where at least five Industrial Workers of the World members known as Wobblies and two deputies were killed.

Webley hopes to take his Flotsam circus boat out for a few shows on Lake Washington later this summer, where cast members of Up Up Up will join him.

Meantime, you can catch him at Cafe Zippy and other venues around Everett.

As a guest at Friday’s Up Up Up show, it’s up in the air if he’ll be singing from the crane.

“I don’t think I’m going to hang from it, but we’ll see,” he said.

He won’t be hanging from his hair.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

See the circus

Up Up Up Inc. shows:

6 p.m. Wednesday at the South Whidbey Community Center field, Langley.

7 p.m. Friday, 1814 Hewitt Ave., Everett.

More at www.upupupinc.com

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