Last updated: August 23. 2013 9:47PM - 142 Views

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LIMA — Johnny Gossard was so eager to have his granddaughter participate in a trick with Alberti Flea Circus at the Allen County Fair he somehow got his wife in on the act.

“He holds up our granddaughter’s hand and I end up on stage,” said Jeannie Gossard, of Harrod.

Jeannie Gossard helped Jim Alberti with the flea high dive into a can of water. The trick turned out to be a wet experience for her as she was splashed with water but it didn’t seem to bug her.

She took it all in stride as she smiled through everything during just another day at the fair.

“I’m just having fun,” she said.

About 30 people stopped by the site of the flea circus behind the grandstand where a stage was set for Alberti’s 22-minute show. The North Carolina native travels the country putting on flea circus shows for fairs, festivals, museums and historical functions.

“In 1988, I decided this is really what I should be doing my whole life,” he said.

Alberti got his start in 1950 as a young boy when he joined his grandfather who had a similar show. The show was brought over from Europe when his family came to America, he said.

The flea circus, which uses a small circus set, a few tricks and some imagination or poor eyesight, got its start more than 300 years ago. A lot of the interest today is tied to the historical value because it’s an art that thrived in the 1800s, Alberti said.

Albert tosses jokes into his routine everywhere he can and uses audience participation. His fleas include Captain Spaulding, who is shot out of a cannon and Daring Divin Dardnell, who jumped off the high dive.

Afterward, he gathered with people sticking around to show them some of his tricks to make it appear as if fleas could be performing stunts even if no one could see the fleas.

In one of the stunts he used a 13-year-old boy in the audience to catch a flea but somehow it ended up in the boy’s hair. Alberti found the flea only to say it wasn’t a member of his circus bringing a laugh from the boy and the audience.

Flea circus a flying hit

Flea circus a flying hit

Flea circus a flying hit
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