Doran, of Bend, Oregon, is best known for being one of the 12 finalists on the fifth season of “America’s Got Talent” in 2010. Besides his performances, Doran plans to participate in other kite-flying activities during Sky Circus. This will be the third year that Doran has been involved with the event.
“There’s indoor and outdoor events. We fly at the lake ... however for people who don’t want to freeze, our major focus is on indoor kite flying, which takes place in the Great Room of Lake Lawn Resort,” Doran said. “Last year, we had a great turnout. It just wasn’t me. There were multiple indoor kite fliers. There’s a great diversity of kite fliers.”
Doran said he plans to get audience members involved in his performances.
“We pull people out of the audience to do (indoor kite flying), and it’s neat to see the looks on their faces,” said Amy Doran, Connor’s mother. “People of all ages love to do it. We’ve performed in front of people from the ages of 5 to 99. We try to make it as fun as we can.”
Connor Doran also plans to visit local schools to talk to students about his Dare to Dream campaign, which focuses on anti-bullying and encouraging people to achieve their goals.
“It’s about being yourself and not letting yourself down,” Doran said. “I talk about living your dreams and that if you can dream it, you can do it.”
Doran said his mother inspired him to try kite flying, which has helped him reduce stress while dealing with epilepsy.
“(My mother) had been flying for about three or four years. She wasn’t an expert, but knew a lot about it,” Doran said. “I didn’t know anything about flying, but I was intrigued. My mom went to a kite competition and that’s where I met a lot of other kite fliers. It was like one, big happy family. I had a blast. It was amazing.”
Doran participated in his first competition in 2007, flying a kite that his mother had used.
“I worked on that same kite for three months,” Amy Doran said. “Connor flew it (at the competition), and he flew it like he owned it.”
After winning several competitions, Doran was inspired to audition for “America’s Got Talent” after an indoor kite flier he knew was a contestant on the show.
“I looked up to him, and I said, ‘I want to be like that,’” Connor said. “In March 2008, he decided to be on ‘America’s Got Talent.’ He made it on the show, but his line got tangled and his kite crashed on the set. It was a nightmare for him, because he knew he could fly.”
Doran’s eventual appearance on the show’s fifth season proved to be a success.
“We were on eggshells, because we didn’t know what was going to happen,” Amy Doran said. “We didn’t expect to get on the show. We didn’t expect to make it to the top 12.”
Connor Doran said he still keeps in touch with the other contestants from “America’s Got Talent.”
“It’s a competition show, but at the same time there’s no hostility,” he said. “We’re all best of friends. I made a lot of friends, just like through kite flying.”
Since being on “America’s Got Talent,” Doran has done about 30 kite performances a year. This year he plans to cut down to 15 performances to focus on school and work. He is set to receive his associate degree in June.
“We’re not rich,” Doran said. “We’re living like real people.”
Doran said Sky Circus is one of his favorite performance events.
“It’s a creative event. People fly their kites on the ice, and not many places do that,” he said. “We like coming back to Delavan.”
Performing also has allowed Doran to raise awareness for epilepsy.
“Many people have given us the opportunity to share his story,” Amy Doran said.
Doran said he hopes his performances will inspire others.
“I tell people the only thing stopping you is yourself,” Doran said. “It’s so easy to let people intimidate you from doing something.
“In reality, there’s nothing stopping you from doing something. That’s the message I’ve been sharing with people ... ”