Dave Willacker

Dave Willacker

“He owned everything because he could give it away.”
– St. Francis of Assisi


Born and raised in Cincinnati! I love Skyline Chili, Larosas and the people of Cincinnati! I attended McNicholas High School and have degrees from Northern Kentucky University and Xavier University. I’ve been involved in theater since kindergarten, as an actor and a writer. One of my favorite theater experiences was acting at the Ohio Renaissance Festival for two years alongside an incredible cast! Thank you Steve Townsend and Ray Flowers for teaching me how to act! Thank you Erick Johnson for making fun of me while I attempted it!

It was during this time that I learned to juggle… I thought it was just a hobby.

After college I worked as a youth minister for two years and then as a high school teacher for ten. I lead mission trips and retreats. I tried very hard to give wise counsel to our youth and kindness, occasionally I taught them things and made them laugh.

Wheel of Death
Wheel of Death 35′ in the air at it’s peak

Today I am proudly a father and a husband. I serve on several public groups in my community. I run an entertainment company which I founded and I get to create art as well as empower others around me.

Some of the skills I perform: Acting, Juggling, Stilt Walking, Fire Eating, Magic, Balloon Animals, Fire performance, Unicycle, and Stage Combat. Some of the skills I’m working on wheel of death, walking ladder, and sword swallowing. I’m also proud to say that I write all of our murder mystery scripts and have directed and wrote many of our shows.

Outside of circus I enjoy chocolate (duh it’s the best), reading, scuba diving, teaching, and travel.

Life Philosophy and The Ways We Give

Bed of Swords

Laying on swords… yes they are sharp. I actually do this shirtless while a girl dances on my chest and then breaks a brick with a sledgehammer. Hurts.

I’d like to leave the world a better place than I’ve found it. Don’t get me wrong I think the world is awesome! Filled with extraordinary people, but if I can improve it a little for those that follow me I will be happy.

We are proudly a sponsor of the Ronald McDonald House, and the Dragon Fly Foundation! We often work with Make a Wish and we happily give to all families who contact us who have gravely ill children. We also work with companies on team building events where a product such as a bicycle is created and then we donated it charities such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cincinnati and the National Youth Advocate Program. We also offer discounted rates for charity events and other not for profit groups.

We also teach kids circus skills. We run a summer camp and teach in schools. An awesome moment came when I asked one of our college jugglers how he learned to juggle. He replied that a juggler had come to his elementary school. I instantly remembered him. It had been ten years prior and he had come up after my show and had asked how he could learn. We had talked for a few minutes. He was a lot shorter back then.

Quotes and Phrases that make me smile
I’m probably most famous (small “f”) for these.

“They don’t just give you a circus.” – Dave Willacker
(when some new performer is amazed that I actually know something)

“That’ll buff right out.” – Dave Willacker
(usually when something clearly won’t, Honestly I think I stole this one from somewhere and have used it so much people think it’s mine.)

“Oh hey… Try not to suck.” – Dave Willacker
(the last thing I whisper to a new performer before they walk out on stage for the first time)

“Make hay while the sun shines.” – Anthony Indovina
(my grandfather taught me that, and it has guided my life)

Keep your zipper up.” – Anthony Indovina
(also my grandfather… no comment)

“The future is not closed.” – Walter Wink

Stage, Radio, TV, Movie Appearances, & Books

  • Ohio Renaissance Festival
  • Sharonville Shakespeare Festival
  • Riverbend (yep I performed on that stage)
  • Riverfront Stadium (I juggled and spoke, I did not play baseball, I kinda stink at it. You don’t even want me on your slow pitch high arch soft ball team.)
  • Cincinnati Enquirer Interview
  • 550 wkrc a couple of times
  • 700 wlw once it was awesome! I love Cincinnati!
  • All the local stations, multiple times for our Trapeze School, aerial classes, summer camps, Oh and for my wedding on our flying trapeze! and just the circus in general.
  • TLC’s Outrageous Kids Parties (really awesome experience, ask me about it I have some great stories.)
  • The Valley (Reality show about Dayton Ohio)
  • Animal Planet – Canopy Kings – See the video here.
  • Glad Press and Seal Commercial (Seriously glad press and seal is an AMAZING PRODUCT!)
  • The movie “Dumbstruck” (great movie, it was on Netflix for several years)
  • The movie “Transformers” (I was totally in this!!! As a walk on extra in a scene… they airbrushed me out prior to the final release, but somewhere there is footage with me on Hoover Dam while real actors are acting in front of me!)
  • The Newlywed Game Show! (We won… Jamaica!)
  • Book: Dave Barry’s Money Secrets: Like: Why Is There a Giant Eyeball on the Dollar?
  • Book: The Marion Popcorn Festival: A Fun-Filled History
  • The Canopy Kings (pilot episode, very nice people the show doesn’t do them justice)
  • In addition to these I have been a guest speaker at many colleges and high schools for career, business, and art related events. I have performed a variety of one many juggling shows on thousands of smaller stages throughout the United States.
  • Oh and I’ve been honored by a couple of mentions by authors including Dave Barry and Michelle Rotuno – Johnson. Thank you!

Other Media

Shows I’ve created, art I’ve brought to
Cincinnati that wasn’t here before me.

  • My own and often repeated one man juggling show
  • A pirate juggling show
  • In 2003 after seeing living statues while performing in Toronto Canada, I began creating living statues here in Cincinnati. We now perform living statues all over and are flattered with lots of performers we have inspired.
  • In 2005 with the help of several very talented performers including my wife we created Cincinnati’s first aerial acrobatics show.
  • In 2009 and I brought a full sized flying trapeze to Cincinnati and began operating a flying trapeze school.
  • In 2011 my wife and I directed the Cincinnati Circus’ first touring show. It’s been over 100 years since Cincinnati had a resident circus!
  • In 2014 we put together a Globe of Death motorcycle stunt show!
  • In 2017 I was honored in the greatest way when I was able to perform side by side with my son in one of our now three touring shows!

Dreams I’ve accomplished.

  • Swim with sharks. (check)
  • See the world. (check)
  • Marry a pretty girl. (check)
  • Become a father. (check)
  • Provide for my family. (check)
  • Start a circus. (check)
  • Create art. (check)
  • Improve the lives of those around me. (check)

Dreams still to accomplish

Dave Willacker
Me as a younger & better looking man…maybe I should grow the goatee again?
  • I have always wanted to perform for the USO. (I called the USO. They very politely explained to me that I was a performer who was not yet famous, and they mostly deal with performers who are already famous. I replied, “Oh I get it, Ben Affleck doesn’t want to sit next to me on the plane over.” They said, “Exactly.”)
  • Write a book.
  • Change the world.