This section is from the book "Scouting For Rural Boys. A Manual For Leaders", by Boy scouts of America. See also: Outdoor Adventure Manual: Essential Scouting Skills for the Great Outdoors.
The outdoor circus seems to fit the rural district, where suitable large buildings are fewer in number or not available.
The two-ring circus is popular with two projects going on at the same time. These may be paired, alternating with several dramatic items in each ring. The "grand entrance" of leaders and Scout participants usually opens the event, passing into a "colors" ceremony. Dramatic events should be worked out showing the application of Scouting first-aid and signaling skills and service to such events as cyclone, tornado, fire, flood. Farm contests are interesting such as milking, harnessing, saddling and mounting horse, greased pig race, wheelbarrow race, potato race, gunnysack or three-legged race, egg rolling competition, hog calling, cow or dog calling contest, rural rope uses. Firemanship, cooking, axemanship, nail driving, seed corn stringing, fire starting can be used. Old time rural games may be demonstrated such as tag, horseshoe pitching and square dances, as well as clowns and humorous items of a rural nature. The building up of some striking pioneering or tent pitching project makes a good closing, with The Flag of The U. S. A. flying! A District Court of Honor session can be sandwiched in, and will both lend and get added color. Sea Scouts can put on a "breeches buoy" demonstration as a feature.
Rural Scouts who have no uniforms can be used in the Indian or pageant events which require special costumes or farmer demonstrations.
Plan the program for a "snappy" time schedule. Hurry the performers on and off. Do not make it too long. An hour and a half of quick action pleases. Two or three hours of lagging wears folks out.
As rural people have to get home, make the program short enough to enable them to get home in decent time. The outdoor circus may be an afternoon event-or at midday as a bring-your-picnic-basket affair. If at night, start early and close early.
Be sure the seating is comfortable and safe. The street show or demonstration is the simplest form and may show Merit Badge skills, camp methods and skills, or be a small edition of a circus. It may be an afternoon or an evening affair or an overnight demonstration as desired.