Acrobats, mimes, illusionists — enough fanciful, fabulous characters to fill a three-ring big top gathered in Santa Rosa on Saturday evening to amuse and delight themselves, and to perform wonders for young people who struggle to find their footing in life.

Ladies and gentlemen, this was Cirque du SAY, a high-flying exposition of food, wine, imagination and caring that will benefit the expanding works of Social Advocates for Youth. Among its endeavors, the nonprofit prepares the former Warrack Hospital for rebirth as a supportive residence for teens and young adults who might otherwise be on the streets.

Guests of Cirque du SAY arrived at the Friedman Center dressed as though they might tumble from a trapeze or be shot from a cannon.

While enjoying social hour, they witnessed with glee the roaming magicians, the creators of the animal balloons and the mastery of artist Carole Watanabe, who painted a circus scene before their eyes.

Served along with a sumptuous repast were considerable merriment, entertainment on two stages, a live auction and abundant reminders that, given all the young lives it will serve, this just might be the greatest show on Earth.