Costumes tell the story of Ringling circus history

- Thousands and thousands of costumes fill a room at the Circus Arts Conservatory in Sarasota.

"We are always taking something old and giving it new life or taking something new and making it look old," said Courtney Wyatt.

They are fitted for performers - from elementary to high school - who grew up learning acts and performing for the Sailor Circus.

"It's an intricate part of how we tell the story of what the circus is about," said Kenji Trujillo.

Circus Sarasota works year-round, preserving each costume and making sure each one is ready for future generations to use.

"It's like traveling back in time and we've been able to preserve so many of these costumes and are able to use them year after year," said Trujillo.

There's a dozen or so costumes that carry the history of the circus with them.

"Several of these costumes go back to kind of the golden age of Ringling," said Wyatt.

LINK: Ringling Museum works to preserve circus history

Some were donated by Ringling Circus. Others were donated by past performers of Ringling. Each has it's own story.

"They're antiques so we only use them for very special occasions," Wyatt said.

As the Ringling Circus closes it's doors, others like the Sailor Circus continue to thrive. It would become a dream come true if more pieces of Ringling history made their way to the Sailor Circus.

"Our closet doors are open. The pieces that we have are true treasures and they are very very special pieces to us," said Wyatt. 

MORE RINGLING BROS. CIRCUS COVERAGE:

- Ringling Bros. circus to close after 146 years
- Inside look: Where Ringling's elephants retire
- What happens between now and Ringling's closure?
- Circus performers show attitude of perseverance
- Eight generations of circus history
- Ringling history: From freak shows to the big top
- Rescue group to Ringling: We'll take your cats
- Old Ringling circus train car to get new life

- From 1984: Circus opens show marking 100 years
- From 1986: Kenneth Feld brings circus to St. Pete
- From 1987: 'King Tusk' highlights the circus
- From 1987: Circus train arrives in St. Pete

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