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My Favorite Thing About the Ringling with Virginia Haley

In my mind, The Ringling has helped to define every aspect of our community. If not for the Museum, our history and heritage would be much different. Virginia_Haily

I remember my first visit to The Ringling. It was the late 80’s and it was before all the renovation work, but it still had a magical air to it. Really, the story of The Ringling and the circus and how he helped build Sarasota is a pretty eccentric and colorful one, so it is hard not to be drawn to the place. 

Years later, my husband and I, with our young daughter in tow, moved to Sarasota. I would bring my four year-old daughter on Mondays.  At that time, the grounds were the most fun for us.  She loved running and playing around the banyan trees. I can imagine to a little girl they must have seemed like giant trees straight from the pages of a fairy tale.

As she grew, I’d come along on their annual school field trips and we’d come as a family to the Medieval Fair. I also fondly remember the days when the Ungala Gala was a big, big deal and it was so euphoric to feel as though the The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Courtyard was our stunning playground. 

Now, my job takes me to The Ringling often but I really never have enough time to sit and take everything in, so my husband and I go to one or two special events and performances each year and we try to make it to the Museum several times too.

We are a fortunate community to have a place such as the Ringling and I look forward to what’s next in my adventures there.

Author: Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County
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