The Greatest Show on Earth Filmed at the circus' winter quarters and throughout Sarasota, the 1952 Academy Award Best Picture of the Year made its debut on January 31, 1952, at the Florida Theatre. Its marquee was tented like the entrance to the Big Top, and director Cecil B. DeMille joined stars Charlton Heston, Betty Hutton and Dorothy Lamour in a re-enactment of a movie's street parade down Main Street to the theater.
Sailor Circus Sarasota's Sailor Circus, named for Sarasota High School's mascot, is the oldest continuously running youth circus in America. Founded in 1949, Sailor Circus began as an extension of the school's gymnastics program to include basic circus skills taught by volunteer circus performers. The Police Athletic League of Sarasota County has run the program since 2004.
Legendary Performer Unus, a Ringling performer who was famous for his one-finger handstand, joined Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1948 and retired in 1965. He was the owner of the Southland Hotel, which still stands at 2229 N. Tamiami Trail. A lighted sign with an inverted gloved hand stood outside the hotel.
Let's Go to the Circus!
Circuses continue to call Sarasota County home. Step right up and learn about them below.