The Cole All-Star Circus was founded in 1938 by legendary showman James M. Cole. He was born and raised in Penn Yan, NY, and at age 11 began his show business career as a "program boy," passing out playbills at the Smith Opera House in Geneva, NY. After graduating high school he joined the Walter L. Main Railroad Circus in 1924. Throughout his amazing tenure in show business, he managed many major touring circuses, owned and operated his own big top show, toured the nation with his famous performing elephants, and became a circus legend. The Cole All-Star Circus began as a school workshop project; Mr. Cole provided the acts, and the schools provided the rest: the art classes designed and crafted the posters, the band classes provided the music for the show, the gym classes served as stage hands. The show became a popular tradition throughout New York State and Pennsylvania. He retired in 1987, completing his 50th annual tour of the Cole All-Star Circus.