As if it needed further proof, part of the charm of Venice Island is it's circus history. At one time, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus wintered here on the island. They practiced, came up with new ideas and invited residents to enjoy their dress rehearsals. From 1960 to 1992, every year they packed up their elephants and tigers, their performers, musicians and equipment and boarded the train to Venice Island. There was a huge arena on the south end of the island and apparently, they paraded from the train station right down Tamiami Trail to their winter digs. It was a huge deal. The famous Clown College was even here. Of course, in 1992, the train stopped coming to the island and that was the end.
But there are reminders here and there. Bits and pieces of circus past to enjoy. The south bridge in fact is officially the Circus Bridge, there is even a sign on the bridge that says so. There is a Ringling Dr and an Ave del Circo. There is a fabulous mural on the west side of Tamiami Trail just past the hospital with scenes from that amazing time that I just love. There is a certain house here on the island that has, in it's side yard, a full on trapeze set. Awesome! In fact, there is a trapeze school here. It's open to the public and while no one will ever in a million years find me up there ready to learn to fly like the daring young man in the song, I'm delighted beyond words that others do. In the various shops on Venice Ave there are for sale, little nods to the circus history. And in our adorable little local museum are housed permanent bits of that time.
I'm sorry that I didn't live here then, or even visit then to witness the glorious spectacle that is a circus with my own eyes. But I delighted to know that others did.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.