The West Central part of Florida has been home to the circus industry for over 100 years. John Ringling of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus fame made his home in Sarasota and most of the performers, animals, trainers, and promoters lived here as well. Some interesting tidbits:
Florida State University was one of the first Universities in the US to offer credit course credit in circus performance: FSU Alumni Magazine Reprint of Life Magazine article March 31, 1952
Circus performers still make the news as witness the murder of Grady Stiles, aka "The Lobster Boy" in 1992 that captured the imagination of the tabloid press in the US
The epicenter of the authentic circus culture is in Gibston, Florida, which is just South of Tampa off of State Road 41. The zoning ordinances in this part of the County are specifically designed to allow for the safe housing of circus animals.
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