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Circus Historical Society
2016 Convention

October 12 - 15, Sarasota, Florida

    Join us at the 2016 CHS Convention in Sarasota, FL October 12-15, 2016! You won't want to miss this historic celebration of the importance of Sarasota in the evolution of the American circus. Enjoy in depth examinations of the fascinating mix of personalities, localities and sensibilities that created a unique show business community. Visit the Big Cat Habitat, the Circus Arts Conservatory, and meet members of the circus community at Sarasota's Showfolks Club.

Update! CHS Sarasota convention attendees have an optional venue to consider adding to their itineraries! Circus Historical Society members are invited to visit the International Independent Showmen's Museum in Gibsonton, Florida for a private guided tour led by the Museum Director at 1 pm on Wednesday, October 12. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of traveling shows in America with an emphasis on the American carnival and contains a vast array of artifacts, equipment and displays. For the convenience of convention attendees, this tour has been scheduled on the opening day of the 2016 convention prior to when registration will begin at the Hampton Inn in Sarasota. As a professional courtesy to the Circus Historical Society, the International Independent Showmen's Association has waived normal museum admission fees for the tour.

On Wednesday evening there will be a reception at the Showfolks Club. CHS will honor Barbara and Buckles Woodcock for their many contributions to helping preserve the history of the circus. Buckles Blog has been seen by millions over the years, which has evolved into a daily blog with multiple pictures being posted almost daily with names and stories that can't be found in any written circus book. Barbara’s comments and anecedotes on Buckles Blog have morphed into her own Facebook page where she offers her own photos and stories and many comments from viewers that bring more history to light.

The convention includes two days of the marvelous presentations of circus history that we have all come to love and learn from. On Saturday morning we will visit the Circus Arts Conservatory. The Circus Arts Conservatory is the parent organization of Circus Sarasota and the Sailor Circus. Adding to the excitement will be a trip to Kay Rosaire’s Big Cat Habitat where CHS will enjoy a performance, a tour of the facilities and a meal.

CHS member Kenneth Feld has extended an invitation for convention attendees to tour the new Feld Entertainment Studios in Palmetto, Florida. The multi-million dollar facility serves as the World Headquarters for Feld Entertainment and includes archives, offices, workshops, a railroad car facility and rehearsal spaces capable of accommodating productions of all sizes.

There will be other opportunities to see the John and Mable Ringling Museums as well as private side trips to see other attractions in the area. The Ring of Fame can be found in St. Armand’s Circle as well as a Historical marker at the old Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus winter quarters. The Ringling International Art Festival will be going on this week. You can purchase tickets to attend if you would like by going to their website at the Ringling International Arts Festival. These tickets are not part of the convention package. You can purchase tickets to their if you wish. One of their highlights will be the Australian Circus Performers that will be there.

This years’ host hotel is the Hampton Inn, located at 975 University Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34243. Telephone: 941-355-8140. Fax: 941-359-2939. We have 50 rooms blocked off for your reservations which must be made before September 12th, 2016. You will be able to get one King Size bed ( $99.00), 2 Queen size beds ( $99.00), or a Suite ( $109.00). First come, first served. You will also be able to get this rate two days before and two days after the convention dates.


Wednesday, October 12 - visit the International Independent Showmen's Museum in Gibsonton, Florida for a private guided tour led by the Museum Director at 1 pm. In the evening the reception at Showfolks of Sarasota will honor Buckles and Barbara Woodcock.

Thursday, October 13 - presentations morning and afternoon. CHS auction Thursday evening.

Friday, October 14 - Tour the Feld Entertainment Complex (morning), presentations (afternoon).

Saturday, October 15 - Circus Arts Conservatory tour (morning), Kay Rosaire's Big Cat Habitat (afternoon) and banquet (evening).

We look forward to another fabulous convention. See you in Sarasota!!!
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Circus Historical Society, Inc.

Last modified 2015