World Premiere of Miniature Howard Bros. Circus to Open Ringling Circus Museum’s Tibbals Learning Center on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 10 a.m.
SARASOTA, Fla. - Jan. 6, 2006 - “Ladies and Gentlemen . . . Step Right Up for the World Premiere of the Largest Miniature Circus in the World – the Howard Bros. Circus!”
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art will open the Tibbals Learning Center to the public at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 14. The highlight of the opening will be the world premiere of the Howard Bros. Circus – the largest miniature circus in the world! Former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Singing Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson will “start the show” with the traditional blast from the Ringmaster’s whistle. Howard Bros. Circus Ringmaster whistles will be given to children to join in the festivities, though supplies are limited.
Philanthropist and master model builder Howard C. Tibbals and Museum Executive Director Dr. John Wetenhall will welcome visitors under the tented entrance to the 30,600 sq. ft.-Tibbals Learning Center.
The Howard Bros. Circus represents a half-century labor of love by Tibbals, and is an authentic replica of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus during the height of the tented circus era (circa 1919 - 1938). The ¾-inch-to-the-foot model covers 3,800 sq. feet and boasts a 55-car train, 152 wagons, 1,500 circus artists and staff, a 200-animal menagerie and eight main tents, including the Big Top tent that measures 36’ x 16’ x 4’. Other exhibits in the Tibbals Learning Center include a poster wall featuring rare circus posters; a 150-foot miniature street parade created by noted model builder Harold Dunn; a historic timeline with circus ephemera; and colorful costumes donated by leading American circuses.
The opening of the Circus Museum’s Tibbals Learning Center and the world premiere of the Howard Bros. Circus will also kick off of a year-long CELEBRATE CIRCUS marketing campaign designed to recognize and celebrate the rich circus heritage of the Suncoast area and to bring national attention to Sarasota as “Home to the American Circus.”