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June 17, 2024 3:14 am

Local News

Omnium Circus Brings Inclusivity To The Table At This Year’s Arizona State Fair


Anzhe Zhang

From tightrope walking to the wildest tricks, Omnium, or the “World’s Most Inclusive Circus” as it’s called, will be making a splash at this year’s Arizona State Fair from September 29th to October 9th.

Being awarded as a “2022 Leading Disability Employer” by the National Organization on Disability, Omnium Circus features performers coming from all backgrounds, with an emphasis on accessibility. 

Around 30 to 35 percent of the circus employees are people with disabilities, according to Executive Director and Founder Lisa B. Lewis. “We are the singularly most diverse, inclusive, and accessible circus in the nation,” Lewis said, explaining that the group was founded in 2020 during the pandemic after she realized that people living with disabilities should have more entertainment options.

“Our goal is to bring brilliant entertainment that also employs and educates, and just brings people together,” she continued.

One unique aspect about Omnium is that the circus offers “touch tours” for circus goers who are hearing or visually-impaired, allowing them to experience the shows in ways that entertainment venues rarely accommodate. 

“Omnium provides full access. We have audio description, we have relaxed seating…one of our main performers who plays the character of the poet is a deaf woman and she signs the entire show. So, it’s simultaneously in both English and sign language,” Lewis explained.

Past highlights in the circus include a unicycle basketball team, acrobatics, contortions, and dance.

General admission tickets for the circus start at $25, which grants entry into the overall fair as well.