Julia Cousins Laning of Venice and the late Nathalie McCulluch are being honored with the Lillian Burns Individual Achievement Award by the History & Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County at its annual awards luncheon at 11:30 a.m. April 27 at Venice Golf & Country Club.

Also being honored that day are: Dr. Uzi Baram for Archaeology Conservancy; Harold Bubil for Historical Research; and Lemon Bay Historical Society for organizational achievement.

Tickets are $45 per person. Mail your check to: History & Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County, P.O. Box 895, Venice FL 34284-0895. Do it now as reservations must be made by April 19.

Tomorrow night, April 18, at 7 p.m. the Sailor Circus, a.k.a. “The Greatest Little Show on Earth,” begins its 70th anniversary spring performance run.

For the first time, there should be no giant fans trying to cool off the giant tent building. As heat rises, I always feared for the student performers on the flying trapeze and/or the high wire, way up high in the tent building where the temperature was always much higher.

It was bad enough on the ground floor, but air conditioning a structure built like a giant tent does not come cheap.

Congratulations to the Circus Arts Conservatory for finally completing the huge fundraising effort to pay for the addition of air conditioning to that building and also for adding extra insulation and such to make it as efficient as possible given its age.

This area would not be the arts capital of Florida without the circus, and the youth circus has become a wonderful component of that. Thank John Ringling for bringing The Greatest Show on Earth to Sarasota in 1927 and also for building The Ringling (Museum of Art, Ca d’Zan and Circus Museum). From the museum sprouted Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Ballet and Asolo Rep, all of which had their initial performances in the Historic Asolo Theater on the grounds of The Ringling. That tiny theater, restored in recent years, is in the Visitor Center of The Ringling, just across the street from the FSU Center for the Performing Arts where Asolo Rep performs.

Since The Greatest Show on Earth held its final performance May 21, 2017, Sarasota’s Circus Arts Conservatory is even more important. Not only has it become the parent of the Sailor Circus but, with its annual shows in the Big Top in Sarasota and many outreach programs, it is keeping the legacy of circus alive — hopefully for generations to come.

Sailor Circus 70th anniversary performances will be Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., April 18, 19 and 20, and April 25, 26 and 27.

The “Tent” is at 2075 Bahia Vista, with parking in the lot just east of the arena/tent. For tickets, call the box office at 941-355-9805 or visit: CircusArts.org.

For double the fun — Saturday, April 20, is World Circus Day. In addition to the Sailor Circus performances, Showfolks of Sarasota will hold an open house and flea market from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at its colorful clubhouse, 5204 North Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota. Admission is free to this event which is a rare opportunity to meet some great show folks and see the clubhouse and circus memorabilia. At the flea market, you might even have the chance to acquire some unique circus mementos. There will be tours of the clubhouse, face painting and more.

Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages — celebrate circus!

For those for whom life is not a circus like the area children who rely on school meal programs, summer can be especially harsh.

In a release from All Faith’s Food Bank, I learned that several thousand local children will be at serious risk of hunger this summer without the free and reduced price meals they get at school.

Not only can we all help by making a contribution to All Faiths but each contribution can provide twice as many meals because of a $700,000 challenge match. All gifts received before May 15 will be matched up to $700,000.

Mail a check to: All Faiths Food Bank, 8171 Blaikie Ct., Sarasota FL 34240, call 941-379-6333, or allfaithsfoodbank.org

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