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Sarasota Florida Guide to the Circus

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Feel The Magic Of The Circus in Sarasota

Planning a trip to Sarasota, Florida? Get ready for some magic in the real sense of the word. That is Circus magic.

John and Charles Ringling built a great circus empire with all the showmanship and salesmanship of days gone by. And the magic continues on, Sarasota is home to one of the greatest circus museums in the world thanks to “The Greatest Show on Earth”.

How did this magic come to be in Sarasota, Florida, the quiet little place with a hometown charm all its own? We need to take a journey back in time to understand the magic and the charm that joined the circus to this Southwest Florida community.

In the early 1900’s, two of the five famous Ringling brothers, John and Charles, purchased the land that today is Sarasota and Longboat Key as a real estate investment. In 1927 Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey traveling Circus moved the circus to Sarasota to spend the winters from the end of November until the beginning of March. During these winter months the circus was transformed into a new show for the coming year.

John Ringling had a brilliant idea... he believed people would enjoy seeing circus life in the making, and opened the Sarasota winter location for visitors. He was right, and they did come.

Sarasota remained winter home to The Greatest Show on Earth until 1959 when the winter quarters headed south to Venice, 25 miles away. Today there remains only a historical marker as a memorial to the 33 year winter home for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Ca'd Zan (House of John) - John Ringling’s personal home, the Ringling Museum of Art, and the Ringling Circus Museum, as well as St. Armand's Circle contribute to the lingering magic of the circus in this southwest Florida town.

The Sarasota area was greatly impacted over this past century with the magic of the circus life and the Ringling family’s influence throughout the area.

You can experience the magic of the circus and the legacy of John and Charles Ringling starting with visiting the Ringling estate and visit to the Ringling museum of Art. You can travel across the John Ringling Causeway to view the circus ring of fame celebrating the greats from the circus world, and then take in a performance at the Florida Theater and Sarasota Opera House in downtown Sarasota.

That is not all; you still today can enjoy a performance by one of the circuses in operation where you can get a little magic all your own.




Circuses still providing performances based in the Sarasota area include
Related Articles:

  • Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus
  • Pal Sailor Circus The Greatest “Little” Show on Earth
  • Circus Sarasota
  • Walker Brothers Circus
  • Royal Hanneford Circus
  • Zerbini Family Circus
  • Sahib Shrine Circus (Shriners Circus)
  • Showfolks Circus
  • Rosaire’s Big Cat Adventure (Rehabilitates and supplies many animals to the Circus)
  • Coronas of Hollywood (Including Hollywoods Racing Pigs, and the Royal Friesian Stallions)

Step right up and on with the show. Let the magic begin with a circus in Sarasota, Florida. Throughout the years at least 38 different circuses have called Sarasota home at one time or another.



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