89-year-old ‘Bunny’ soars on trapeze for senior arts festival

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - Her nickname is “Bunny.” On stage, she plays a cat; and she’s quite agile for being 89.

“I like being Catwoman because it’s sort of an identity that I can hide behind; plus it’s funny,” said Elizabeth ‘Bunny’ Herring.

But Bunny is all business when she leaves the ground and works on a trapeze.

“Why I wonder that myself,” said Herring. “Because my children wanted a circus show for my 80th birthday. So when I had been in the circus, I had rode elephants and horses. But obviously we couldn’t have an elephant or horse in City Museum. So Jessica said, ‘Okay you’ve got to learn an aerial act.’”

When she was 18, Bunny ran off to join the circus. Her parents wouldn’t allow her to be an aerialist, so she became a rider.

But 10 years ago, Bunny took an aerial class from Jessica Hentoff at Circus Harmony and she’s never looked back; but she has looked down.

“Life is never over and what we see in doing this is artists don’t retire, they just keep making art,” said Lynn Hamilton, organizer for Celebrating Art for Senior Engagement Festival. “I think that`s what keeps them going. Look at Elizabeth she’s as vibrant today as she was 20 years ago.”

Bunny’s circus showcase inside City Museum Thursday afternoon is one of 80 events in the celebrating art for senior engagement festival. The 10-day experience is meant for those with a lot of life experience.

From dance to art exhibits, music and more, the fest hopes to engage older St. Louisans and the entire community. And besides, take it from the lady on the flying trapeze.

“An interest, something to put your heart and soul into, keeps you young,” Herring said.