Famous Shriners, Shrine Circus and those cute little brave Shriners Hospital kids…


What do John Wayne, Buzz Aldrin and Ernest Borgnine all have in common?  They are famous Shriners…

The Shriners are a Fraternal offshoot of the Masons. They were founded in 1870 by a Doctor, Walter Flemming and a famous actor of the time, William Florence who were both from New York City. They wanted to start a group based on fun and fellowship who followed masonic principles.  They are now known as Shriners International but were formerly known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.


William Florence was inspired to adopt a Middle Eastern theme after attending an event in France where there was an Arabian themed musical followed by all of the guests becoming members of a secret society. When he returned from his own european acting tour he showed his doctor friend sketches he had drawn of this experience and the good doctor then created the theme, rituals, emblem, costumes and a general form of what is now The Shriners.


These wonderful red hats are called Fezzes and every Shriner has their own unique Fez through some sort of mysterious and secret Shriner ritual I am sure.

They describe their organization in this way, “Shriners International is a fraternal organization of men who are dedicated to brotherhood, compassion and service to others.  Shriners international… it’s more than fraternity.”

Usually, the feminist in me cringes at the idea of an all male organization but I keep seeing these wonderful commercials about the Shriners Hospitals for Children and all of the good work that they do so I wanted to take a closer look.  It seems, that ladies who are related to a Shriner have a sister organization called Ladies of the Nile.  I love the names….


The Shriners are known for their silly parade cars.  The engines are lawn mower engines and they proudly participate in local parades to order increase public awareness and point folks to the good that the Shriners Childrens’ Hospitals do…


They are also known for their world famous “Three Ring Circus”. It is the real deal and loads of fun with lions and elephants and acrobats and crazy daredevils.  It was so much fun!


My favorites are always the elephants.  They seem happy.  We got to meet them during the intermission.  They certainly are amazing creatures!


The acrobats and trapeze artists kept us on the edge of our seats as they performed an amazing high wire act.  There is something about this traditional act that is so cool.  It’s not stylized like Cirque du Soleil or a Las Vegas show.  It has a total circus vibe.


This sweet lady is one of the high wire acrobats.  We got a chance to meet her and visit during intermission.  She is in several different acts along with both her husband and daughter.  It is a family affair.


There were three motorcycle riders inside of this metal orb. It was both exciting and terrifying at the same time… at least it was for me.


Fun, fellowship and doing good things…

The Shriners are dedicated to providing care for children and families in need.  Everything they do points to that stated goal and the good works of The Shriner Children’s Hospitals.


In 1920, the Imperial Session of the Shriners unanimously passed a resolution to establish what was then called the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children system.



In 1922, the first hospital was opened in Shreveport Louisiana and specialized in pediatric orthopedics. By the end of the decade there were 13 more hospitals added to their number.



Shriners Believe in Philanthropy…

“Shriners Hospitals for Children was founded in 1922 with the goal of providing expert medical care for children with no financial burden to the patients or their families.”

“Today that philanthropic effort supports the health care system’s 22 facilities across the US, Canada and Mexico treating children up to 18 years of age who have orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, cleft lip and palate, and more.  Our advanced care is provided in a family-centered environment that is focused on maximizing a child’s quality of life, regardless of the families’ ability to pay.”


These kids are so brave.


Shriners Hospital helps these kids live their best lives.


This is Alec.  He is part of the “Love to the Rescue” television and advertising campaign for the Shriners Hospitals.  His sweet little face and the way he suggests that you might want to consider supporting this great cause and particularly his little voice as he describes the ‘adorable’ Love to the Rescue blanked you will receive as a thank-you…


These are currently their 22 locations in North America.


There are now over 350,000 Shriners all over the world.  The Shriners are silly with their little red Fezzes and funny with their crazy parades and circuses but most importantly they do so many very good works.  Please consider helping out in a way that makes you smile.

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The Shiners are in part responsible for this child’s smile….

You can find out more information about the Shriners and their Love to the Rescue campaign at the following websites.



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