Clowning Around 11-4-11

We left the comforts of home back in North Port and restarted our trek.  A short distance away was the Ringling Museum and Residence, so we decided to pay it a visit.  We are SO glad that we did.  The lawns and gardens were immaculate and lush.  The physical accomodations and the staff were helpful and friendly.  The displays were awesome and the home oppulent, decadent and ostentatious.

Most enjoyable was the minature reproduction of the circus in its heyday which was done over the course of 50 years by Howard Tibbals.  He provides our quote of the day: “The tedious goes with the easy – just like all of life”.  The attraction spans a huge expanse of display and not only shows the big top and its wonders, but also gives equal attention to the background of the set-up, animal care, commisary, dressing rooms, side shows and living accomodations of the performers and crew.  It re-enacts the flurry of activity that would accompany the arrival of the circus to a town, the set up, the actual one-day performance and the tear-down and move to the next town.  The attention to detail, the colors and spectacle and the sheer amount of individual pieces that come together to create this wonder are awe-inspiring.  If you are ever in Sarasota, Fl – we would highly recommend that you stop.

In addition to the model, there are real circus memorbilia, props, photos and footage of performers.  Many of the iconic performers are profiled and there are many elaborate costumes and wagons and calliopes and train cars and instruments to see.  As you can imagine, clowns are were a focus and many of the classic characters and their props were featured.  Much attention was also given to the daredevils, acrobats, wire walkers, jugglers, trapeze artists, animal trainers and even the ringmasters.  You take photos all day in this place (and I did my fair share!) the colors are vibrant and the unusual and rare artifacts give you a chance to re-live a time when many of us were not even alive.  We looked at a timeline and saw that the pinnacle of the circus as a spectacle peaked even before Dad was born (1936) and had just about completely died out (as this great moveable city with all its pomp and community excitement and its great tents) by the time I was born. Although we have circus today, its renaisance period has long passed and it is a mere shadow of its former self. This museum brings it all back to life again.

Well, after seeing all those clowns get pies in the face, we decided to get some pie IN our face. We traveled to Yoder’s Amish restaurant with its 15 kinds of crust baked pies and and equal number of cream pies!  Decisions, decisions….Dad asked for mincemeat but they didn’t have that, so he got pumpkin which was a creamy custard about 3 inches tall with a flaky crust.  I looked at them all and pondered between rhubarb and strawberry – rhubarb won out (as I knew it would) and I had it warmed, but left out the ice cream.  It, too, had a flaky crust and lots of filling which was just tart enough, just sweet enough.  I am so glad this place is NOT in Vegas!  We did not throw our pie at each other – can’t let good pie go to waste – we shared and ate every crumb.  On the way out, it was so tempting to buy more pie to go – but we resisted and got some citrus variety (it IS Florida, after all) and some other fresh fruits and veggies.

The trip to Silver Springs on I-75 was frustrating because of two traffic jams(reason unknown) that delayed our arrival by over 2 hours.  So, we had to hook up in the dark.  But, we are settled in now and Dad is reading and I am blogging – all is back to normal.  I told you that I had a TON of circus picks – if you want to see them (and other pics of the day), please click on this link and see the file on Snapfish (it is free and you can choose to view it as a slideshow:



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