On a beautiful Sunday afternoon last weekend, St Armands Circle held its 28th annual Circus Ring of Fame Induction Ceremony which recognizes those who have made “a significant contribution to the art and culture of the circus”. With dozens of inductees from around the world, the Ring of Fame began in 1987 as a way to honor world famous circus performers and the rich circus heritage of the Sarasota area. Each inductee is then honored with a bronze wagon wheel plaque, which celebrates their contribution to circus art and heritage.

The Ring of Fame graces the central park of St. Armand's Circle. There visitors and locals alike stroll past decades of circus history, reading the plaques and conjuring up childhood memories of circus greats such as famed animal trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams, astounding aerialists the Flying Wallendas and Lillian Wetzel, timeless clowns Lou Jacobs and Emmett Kelley. The Ring includes the most famous showman of all times, P.T. Barnum, as well as the visionary who brought the circus to Sarasota, John Ringling.

Because the annual Circus Ring of Fame ceremony draws veritable who's who in the circus world as current and past performers gather to honor their peers, this year it  also played host to Tortuga Films - a CBC TV crew from Quebec who are shooting a documentary called After the Circus. According to director/ screenwriter Viveka Melki the project is an intimate portrait of the circus family community who are determined to support each other through thick and thin. The film will air in Canada in December of 2015. With the temperatures in the 70s, the film makers enjoyed one of the main attractions that drew John Ringling to our city.