Say the word circus to someone who loves the circus and you’ll see a face full of joy.
Who loves the circus?
Anyone who watched the circus animals coming off of the long train of big box cars when it arrived in your town.
Anyone who who experienced the smell, the sights, the sounds of the big top as a child.
If you experienced this excitement when you were growing up you might enjoy visiting the Ringling Brothers Circus Museum of Sarasota, Florida. The shooting of the movie ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ was filmed at this museum.
It’s the biggest circus museum containing documents, artifacts and memorabilia that preserves the celebration of the circus.
The circus is coming – The circus is coming …
That was the cry of the barker who was sent in advance to your town. The anticipation of the circus arriving was rooted in you by posters pasted on the walls of every blank concrete space available.
What child wouldn’t be dreaming of the parade of animals that, in a matter of days, would be coming down their main street of town?
Yes, that’s what the circus did.
The circus was originally started in Baraboo, Wisconsin by five of the seven Ringling Brothers in 1884. Later, in 1948, it moved to its’ permanent home in Sarasota, Florida.
The long box car train would pull into the outskirts of town; then, the unloading would begin. It was a massive undertaking they made look easy.
There were a great many tents that had to be raised.
There was the costume tent. This is where all of the costumes were sewn, repaired and laundered.
The mess hall tent was where everyone ate their three meals a day except for the star performers who had their own tents with kitchens.
Of course, there was the animal tents where the variety of animals were housed.
The tent for the sideshows of oddities was another.
The last one was the big top where the circus loving patrons sat in awe of the entertainment.
Before the grand opening day, there was the pièce de résistance. The parade of elephants. The sparkling colorful costumed riders would shine in the bright sun.
A zoo was unheard of in many towns, the circus was an opportunity for children to see animals up close. Oh, how the faces of children would be overcome with excitement. Their voices would squeal as the parade of animals came down Main Street.
The circus is a magical world filled with acrobats, mind-boggling feats, horses dancing and being ridden, high wire acts, tight rope walkers, trapeze acts, musicians and clowns. Sequins glittering under the lights along with dangerously wild performances right in front of you could make it easy to be hypnotized.
Now, September 2011, enter the “Circus Museums Tibbals” learning center where the largest miniature circus called the “Harold Bros. Circus Model” is housed. An odd name considering it’s the Ringling Brothers Circus Museum but copyright issues prevent the use of that name. Harold Tibbel philanthropist and miniature expert created the replica of the circus life. It will be on exhibit ate the Ringling Museum, indefinitely.
It has taken Harold Tibbel 50 years to painstakingly create these miniature masterpieces. His thoughts are that, “There is still a great many portions that have to be completed”. His avocation to this project is commendable.
The massive undertaking to preserve a piece of Americana is his passion.
The show must go on a well-known phrase in show business was voiced quite often when injuries occurred at the circus. It was common for these constant travelers.
Despite how they felt physically, when the Ringmaster took center stage and announced, “Ladies and Gentleman and children of all ages …” everyone was quiet and all eyes were on the stage for “The Greatest Show on Earth” that was about to begin.
When visiting the Sarasota, Florida area be sure to add this Ringling Circus Museum to your must do list. You won’t be disappointed.
2015©written by isadoradelavega
***** for more information: https://www.ringling.org/circus-museum/
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