Sarasota Unique Heritage
It was John Ringling who made Sarasota synonymous with the circus throughout the world. When John Ringling moved the winter quarters of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Sarasota in 1927, he forever changed the West Coast of Florida. From Tampa to Palmetto to Sarasota to Osprey to Venice and Arcadia, the circus has left its mark.
On Christmas Day, 1927, the Sarasota winter quarters opened its doors to visitors. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of people visited winter quarters, and it became the number one tourist attraction in the State. Circus performers made their homes in Sarasota and brought a unique diversity to the area -- Cristianis, Concellos, Merle Evans, Lou Jacobs, Emmett Kelly, LaNorma, Unus, Wallendas, and Zacchinis. They are an integral part of the community and the circus became a part of Sarasota County's ongoing legacy. Today the legacy of the circus can still be seen in Sarasota with Circus Sarasota and the PAL Sailor Circus.
For more information:
Buck, Pat Ringling
The Ringling Legacy
Sarasota, FL: PRB Enterprises, 1998
Grismer, Karl H.
The Story of Sarasota
Sarasota, FL: M.E. Russell, 1946
Ringling: The Florida Years 1911-1936
Gainsville, FL:University Press of Florida, 1993