|PUBLICITY PHOTO/ Toby Ballantine with the "Circus Coach"|
As a big fan of all things big top related, I'm pretty stoked about taking an official tour of America's Circus City. I've written several stories about Sarasota's rich history with the often death-defying form of entertainment over the years but next Wednesday will be the first time I've had a circus pro take me around town.
Starting Dec. 15, Big Top Tours will share the historic sights, hidden gems and legendary stories that date back to the 1920s when John Ringling moved “The Greatest Show on Earth” to Sarasota. Lifelong professional performer and local resident Toby Ballantine will host the sightseeing trips through America’s Circus City aboard the colorful Circus Coach.
“I refer to the concept as ‘entertainment tourism’,” explained Big Top Tours producer Bob Collins in a statement. “As an inveterate traveler, I always enjoy and remember those tours that are the most entertaining. Meanwhile, right here in Sarasota we are home to one of the most entertaining forms of popular culture in the world: the circus!”
Each two-hour tour will depart from the Ringling Museum parking lot at 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Price: $35/$25 (children age 12 and under). Click for more information.