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BENNINGTON — Campers in North Bennington got to play with fire and learn about fire safety at the same event.

On a recent day, the two founding members of Cirque de Fuego, a fire performance troupe from Jericho, visited Camp Danger at Vermont Arts Exchange. Husband and wife Chris and Kim Cleary talked to the children about fire safety, demonstrated "fire breathing" and other tricks that included various props, such as torches, a sword, a rope and a what looked like a parasol dotted with flames. The children said it reminded them of Mary Poppins.

"That's the thing about playing with fire. It's not playing with fire. It's manipulating with fire," Chris Cleary said.

When it came time for audience volunteers, hands shot in the air. Children said they enjoyed handling the different props, and the performers get a thrill out of seeing the children's — and adults' — faces.

For a video featuring clips from the performance, view these photos at, and

For more information on Cirque de Fuego, visit


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