Children in Aledo were treated to a big surprise when a caravan of trucks and trailers owned by the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus came rolling into town recently for couple of performances.On March 26, the troupe set up at Bearcat Park, next to McAnally Intermediate School on 151 FM 5 South.Early that morning between 9:30 and 10 a.m., and as in the traditions of days gone by, children were invited to come out and watch the raising of the “Big Top” and then stay for a free tour.Kicking off their 28th year, The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus began in 1985, at the hands of Robert Johnson, Jim Hebert and Curtis Cainan, who started a small show.The three alternated announcing, performing and selling concessions during each performance for the first year. They didn't sell tickets, instead relying on donations received from passing a hat at the end of each show. Over the years, they were able to gradually add employees, equipment and animals which came complete with wild cats such as tigers and lions.Culpepper & Merriweather Circus originally were based in Queen Creek, Ariz., until 2001, when new ownership moved its base of operations to Hugo, Okla., deep in the Red River Valley. Hugo is known as "Circus City, USA" for a good reason. The group was the 20th circus to call Hugo home since 1941, and the fourth active circus currently operating from the seat of Choctaw County.A percentage of the proceeds went to benefit the Aledo 4H Club.