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Big Top Tour – Sarasota’s Circus History

Our guided tour aboard The Fountains bus was both educational and entertaining! We were amazed as we passed dozens of familiar (and not so familiar) locations in Sarasota that have surprising ties to the circus! We learned how John Ringling and his family, colleagues, and successors helped create the cultural and colorful community that Sarasota is today. Our guide, Tony Circus Ballantine – yes “Circus” is his middle name – regaled us with stories of circus life and entertained us with magic and mirth!

Our lunch aboard Bob’s Train, an actual four-car train featuring a “pie car” (which we learned was circus talk for dining car), featured an extensive private gallery of circus photos and the historic JOMAR, the train car originally owned by John and Mable Ringling. What a hidden gem!!

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