Ringling Circus Returns To Tampa Bay, 235 Jobs

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus used to come to the Sarasota area every year to enjoy the Florida sunshine. And now it looks as if it's here to stay. So if you've ever wanted to join the circus, you may just get your chance.

Feld Entertainment, producer of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey as well as Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, Monster Jam and other Feld Motor Sports brands, is relocating its headquarters from Vienna, VA, to Ellenton, FL, over the next five years and bringing 235 new jobs to the Tampa Bay area. 

"The circus has a history in Southwest Florida," says Stephen Payne, Feld spokesperson. "This is where we used to do rehearsals. But the rehearsal facility we currently have in Palmetto won’t permit us to grow. In 2008 we acquired a motor sports division, which dramatically increased the size of the company and spurred new brands. But I think it also goes back to a hunger in the U.S. and the world for families to enjoy entertainment together. Our shows offer that."

The new facility, located at 2001 N. U.S. 301, occupies 47 acres and will allow Feld to consolidate and house operations and production activities that support Feld's global tours. The site includes 100,000 square feet of office space with an additional 450,000 square feet of manufacturing space in two buildings. The expansion will allow Feld to retain 148 employees and hire an additional 235 to handle a variety of high skill, high wage jobs such as scenic design, costumes, sound and lighting, as well as maintenance of the circus train.

The move is made possible through a variety of grants and incentives totaling $3,779,734. Incentives include $1,174,765 from the state of Florida's Qualified Targeted Industry Fund, $650,000 from its Quick Action Closing Fund, and $1,500,334 from the Manatee County Government.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Stephen Payne, Feld Entertainment
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