Date Posted: 8/21/2014
Marketing and Public Relations Manager
PALMETTO, Fla. – The Greatest Show On Earth® is planning to winter at Port Manatee for at least the next decade.
The 61-car circus train of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® – replete with some 250 performers and crew members – is slated to arrive Nov. 17 at Port Manatee and stay through Christmas Eve, under a lease agreement approved today by the Manatee County Port Authority.
The agreement, with Ringling Bros. parent company, Palmetto-based Feld Entertainment Inc., automatically renews for similar six-week periods for 10 succeeding years, with an option for five additional years. Total lease value, including option years, is more than $350,000.
“There’s always excitement when the circus comes to town, and this new relationship fits perfectly with Port Manatee’s diversification initiative,” said Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director. “The circus plays an important role in the culture of Manatee and Sarasota counties, and we are proud to be part of it.”
The leased site – along 5,400 feet of railroad track outside Port Manatee’s secured area – is just 10 miles north of Feld Entertainment’s world headquarters, including recently enhanced rehearsal facilities.
Alas, there will be no lions or tigers or bears – oh my! – at the leased site, but the circus train is to come complete with a host of performance materials, motor vehicles and equipment, as well as about 250 people from 27 countries who live in what Ringling Bros. officials refer to as “a city without a ZIP code.”
Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences, with productions, in addition to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, including Monster Jam, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!
Located “Where Tampa Bay Meets the Gulf of Mexico,” Port Manatee is a multipurpose deepwater seaport near the entrance to Tampa Bay that serves bulk, breakbulk, container, heavylift, project and general cargo customers. The port generates more than $2.3 billion in annual economic impact for the local community, while supporting more than 24,000 jobs regionally, without the benefit of ad-valorem taxes.