Off the Page: "Three Ringling Circus: A History of Sarasota, Florida, and the Famous Ringling Brothers"

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Age Group:

Adults, Seniors

Program Description


Come for the (slightly stale) circus peanuts, stay for the scoop on John Ringling, Sarasota and The Ringling. (NEW!) Like the orange circus peanuts that people either love or hate, John Ringling, his wife Mable and his family made an indelible and sometimes controversial imprint on Sarasota.  Sarasota would not be what it is today without the influence of the Ringling family, particularly John Ringling and his wife Mable.

Along with accompanying photos, author Sandra Gurvis will discuss her just-released book THREE RINGLING CIRCUS, including the early days of the natives, Blacks and settlers; the origins of the Ringling family and ahead-of-their-time ways of developing their circus; and the massive amounts of finagling that went into the creation of the Art Museum and Ca d’Zan. Juicy and little-known details about the Ringlings’ fabulous lifestyle, their behind-the-scenes heartbreak and triumph and often Machiavellian grab for wealth and power will also be included. Marshmallow circus peanuts will also be available for those brave enough to sample them! (The package has no expiration date).

A former lifelong Ohio resident who moved to Bradenton/Sarasota in June 2020, Sandra Gurvis ( is the author of 16 commercially published nonfiction books and 2 novels. A freelance writer for over 30 years, she has written corporate profiles, technical articles and curated and created web content. Her newest nonfiction title, THREE RINGLING CIRCUS: A HISTORY OF SARASOTA, FLORIDA AND THE FAMOUS RINGLING BROTHERS was released in January from Pineapple/Rowman & Littlefield.  Her current projects are DAY TRIPS FROM COLUMBUS, 4th ed. and DOING HARD TIME IN GEEZERVILLE, which is the first of a three-part mystery/satire set in The Villages, Florida.

This program is part of the Off the Page Literary Celebration.


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