By Curt Yeomans
Oriana Pineda has never been to a circus, so there is something she wants to know: Do the clowns really come out in a miniature car?
Pineda, a 10-year-old resident of Morrow, does not even consider herself to be a good artist. "I just like to color things in," she said.
Working on a social studies project about shoplifting gave the fifth-grader at Morrow Elementary School an idea about how to do well in this year's circus art competition -- use beads in her work. The use of beads earned Pineda top honors for her social studies project hosted by the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and the Cole Bros. Circus.
She was hoping for similar success in the art competition with her use of beads, and the idea paid off.
Pineda, and 8-year-old Bryant Nicole Burroughs, of Hampton, are the winners of the annual circus art competition. Pineda won the grand prize in the 9-12 age category, while Burroughs took top honors in the 6-8 category. Jonesboro resident Garrett Johnson, 12, was the runner-up in the category for the older children, while fellow Jonesboro resident Bethany Strickland, 8, was the runner-up in the 6-8 category.
"Beads are my lucky thing," Pineda said.
Pineda and Burroughs are looking forward to this weekend, because they will get to see clowns, acrobats and elephants, at this year's Cole Bros. Circus. It will be in the area from Thursday until Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, 1500 Hwy. 19/41, Hampton.
As winners in their respective age categories, the youths will each received six complementary tickets to Friday's performance of the circus, and they will get to dress up as clowns, and participate in the circus.
"I'm excited, and happy that I won because I put a lot of effort into my drawing, and I can't wait to see the circus for the first time," Pineda said.
While Pineda does not see herself as an artist, Burroughs has been engaged in arts and crafts since she was in pre-school. "I just like all of the colors," said the second-grader at Dutchtown Elementary School.
Bryant Nicole Burroughs, whose mother is McGarrah Elementary School Principal Tammy Burroughs, used a more simplistic approach to winning top honors. Burroughs' drawing did not have anything fancy about it, it just had the colors green, red, yellow, blue, purple and orange, which the artist called "circus colors."
This will not be the first time Burroughs has gone to a circus. She has attended three other big top events, but she is still excited about seeing the parade of clowns, animals and other performers. Like Pineda, Burroughs is excited about seeing the clowns, but she is equally excited about seeing the acrobats perform.
"They are pretty cool," Burroughs said. "I'm a gymnast, so I'm into that stuff, but I'm not as flexible as they are."