Showfolks History 2016-10-26T09:17:40+00:00

The Showfolks of Sarasota was  conceived in 1964 as “An   International Alliance of Circus Artists and  Executives“. Since that time,   Showfolks membership has grown to  encompass individuals from all aspects of show   business and the  entertainment world, to include “friends of the circus” who are    members of supportive organizations such as Circus Fans of America,  Circus   Historical Society, Circus Model Builders, and Windjammers  Unlimited   (musicians).

Showfolks of Sarasota’s first slate of  officers were elected August 12, 1964   in the back room of Charlie  Borza’s Main Bar (which continues to operate today   in the heart of  Sarasota’s downtown district). Showfolks’ founders were: Don   Edwards,  President; Ludwig Maschino, First Vice-President; Tex Copeland, Second    Vice-President; Earl Shipley, Secretary; Dolly Copeland, Treasurer; and  Leonard   Aylsworth, Chairman of the Board. Board of Directors members  were Theal Marlowe,   Mel Miller, Chuck Williams, Elly Ardelty, Hattie  Shipley, Charlie Borza, Cora   Davis, Ken Mayo, Giavanna Cannestrelli,  and May Mitchell. The result of these   individuals, who at the time had  nothing more or less than a dream, is Showfolks   of Sarasota’s  historic clubhouse which stands proudly on property acquired in   1967  at 5204 North Lockwood Ridge Road in Sarasota Florida, the Circus  Capital   of the World.

Prior to the ground breaking for Showfolks  historic clubhouse which took   place on September 10, 1967, it was not  unusual to find Showfolks members   meeting, and lounging about enjoying  social moments on Ludwig Maschino’s lanai   at his home. Social events  have been held at Showfolks Clubhouse on Saturday   evenings since the  club’s inception with members from all over the world coming   together.  Members and guests enjoy International dinners prepared by members    whose roots stray worldwide. Walls within Showfolks Karl Wallenda and  Ludwig   Maschino rooms are adorned with photos of stars from the past,  the present, into   the future. The Father Sullivan room, and Banquet  hall, are surrounded by   beautiful hand painted circus murals by  renowned artist Bill Holm.

Since inception, simply out of the love for  circus and show business,   Showfolks’ membership has ensured from year  to year that the dreams of the few   original founders grew from year to  year. During the year 2005, Showfolks’   celebrates its 41st  Anniversary!

From performing artists, to office staff,  from concessionaires and riggers,   to promoters, from circus fans, to  local friends, Showfolks members can honestly   be proud when they  exclaim “This Is What We Accomplished Together”.

The Circus   is the living proof that people of different races,  religions, nationalities,   and views can cooperate and give for others  nothing more or less than   pleasure

Be sure to check out our PHOTO ARCHIVE.

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