Museum of the Circus Many Sarasotans earned international acclaim as circus artists, and their personal mementos are on display in the circus museum, including clowns Lou Jacobs, Otto Griebling and Emmett Kelly; animal trainers Clyde Beatty and Gunther Gebel-Williams; the Zacchini Human Cannonballs; and the famous Wallenda highwire-walking family.
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.
Watch fun slideshows on people past and present who have contributed to Sarasota's circus
heritage, and the animals and props that made their own contributions.