EATON RAPIDS, Mich. — It was a offer that was just quirky enough to work in St. Peter Catholic Church's favor.
Offered for free was exotic fertilizer, left behind at the church property after a traveling circus and its 30-some animals finished performing on Aug. 17.
The 4-foot high by 10-foot long pile of elephant, tiger, llama and camel dung waste was offered up, free to any local green thumbs willing and able to haul it away after the Sunday shows.
By Tuesday, church secretary Ivy Lynn Olson, 33, said all it was gone.
"It's completely gone," said Olson. "There's nothing left."
That's good news for the local congregation. The church was responsible for disposing of the waste after the Kelly Miller Circus pulled up stakes. The Oklahoma-based circus performed two shows in front of a crowd of about 700 ticket holders.
Olson said St. Peter lacked the funds needed to rent a dumpster to get rid of the waste. The fundraising event netted about $700 once expenses were covered.
Renting a dumpster would have eaten into nearly $400 of that.
Olson said that's why church staff offered the manure to the public, in hopes that gardeners and farmers alike might be interested in it.
Sunday night after the circus was over, Olson said at least three to four people visited the church grounds to begin taking it away to their gardens.
By Tuesday morning nothing was left but a note, said Olson.
"The last people came with a trailer," she said. "They just hauled it away and left the cutest note that said, 'The manure pile is gone. We'll have the only garden in Eaton Rapids fertilized by elephant, tiger, llama and camel poop.'"
Olson said since then there have been a few more calls to the church office inquiring about the remaining waste. Olson said she had to tell them its simply all gone.
"There have been enough people calling that if we'd had more we would have been able to get rid of it," said Olson. "There was that much interest."
So much so, said Olson, that if the circus is invited back next year church staff will likely make the exotic fertilizer available for a second time.