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Sarasota will forever be linked with the name of Ringling, thanks to John Ringling, owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus. From the elephants that marched down Main Street for the movies to the causeway connecting downtown to St. Armands Circle — Ringling’s grand shopping district — to the college and world-class museum that bear his name, Ringling’s touch in the 1920s transformed this village by the sea to a center for the arts. Nationally renowned for its many performing arts programs, Sarasota has many other facets, too. One of the largest Amish communities in the United States is here, to the delight of those who savor country cooking. ...

Sarasota will forever be linked with the name of Ringling, thanks to John Ringling, owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus. From the elephants that marched down Main Street for the movies to the causeway connecting downtown to St. Armands Circle — Ringling’s grand shopping district — to the college and world-class museum that bear his name, Ringling’s touch in the 1920s transformed this village by the sea to a center for the arts. Nationally renowned for its many performing arts programs, Sarasota has many other facets, too. One of the largest Amish communities in the United States is here, to the delight of those who savor country cooking. Botanical gardens and natural areas showcase the lush tropical landscape, and on Siesta Key, you’ll find one of the world’s best beaches — the sand is baby-powder soft and blazing white. Summoned by the artistic atmosphere, creative chefs abound, banding together as “The Originals” for foodies’ delight. And yes, the circus is very much alive here. Follow the Circus Heritage Trail to discover museums, schools, and performances around the region.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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