Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Conny Gasser

Swiss park owner and circus impresario dies

The Swiss amusement park Conny-Land will start the 2008 season without its founder. Conny Gasser (pictured), who died in Zurich on December 17, 2007, at the age of 69, was one of the leading showbusiness characters of Switzerland.

Born into a distinguished circus dynasty, he later toured dolphin shows around the world, created his own circus which ran for 25 years and built Conny-Land from scratch in Lipperswill.

Having established success as an aerialist with his wife Gerda, Conny left the family business, Circus Royale, in 1969 to create the Miami Dolphin Show together with the Knie family. His own Conny’s Flipper Show would go on to tour throughout Switzerland, Germany France, England, Israel and even the Far East. With the help of their children, Conny and Gerda at one time has three dolphin circuses working simultaneously around the world.

In 1985 Conny Gasser opened his pleasure park and dolphinarium in the tiny village of Lipperswill, not far from Zurich, today still the headquarters of Circus Royale. After years of touring their dolphin spectacles, the Gassers has founded a great park which featured a around 24 major attractions including a dolphinarium with room for 700 spectators, an underwater bar and a big Las Vegas show. It prospered and has become a major Swiss tourist attraction, winning several awards.

But once the sawdust is in the veins of a circus performer, there’s no getting away from the sawdust ring. It was 25 years ago that Conny Gasser, with business partner Herbi Lips, founded the annual winter show Circus Conelli, which has been a major Christmas attraction in Zurich ever since.

It was in the middle of his successful and triumphant jubilee season (November 23 to January 3) that Conny Gasser died, suddenly and unexpectedly. Herbi Lips was in poor health at the time, and it is not known whether or not the circus will continue, although his family will definitely continue with the Conny-Land park. Conny is survived by his widow Gerda, and children Robbie and Nadja.
-Don Stacey.

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