An aerial view of the arena while Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus was in winterquarters.

Urgently Needed Roof Repairs!

Please help if you can!

Our organization is looking for help to stabilize the roof of the main arena building. We have identified about 10,000 square feet of needed patching/repair. The roof repairs would consist of replacing rotted 1/2" thick plywood deck over 2"x10"x16' rafters over the metal truss system. Felt paper and tar/gravel.

We need several licensed roofing contractors to come forward and make this happen. We will try to get the needed materials donated, and are seeking in-kind labor. We will purchase materials if we can't get them donated. This repair must take place very soon. We know 10,000 feet would be a very difficult burden for a single contractor to take on. If we had several or ten contractors they could repair 1,000 square feet each. If you can help or know of someone who can please call Orlando Bevington 941-960-0371. Thank you!!!

Venice Circus Arts Foundation, Inc...

Dedicated to keeping circus history alive in Venice

Join our team of individuals working together to bring the circus arts back to Venice.

With the restoration of the historic Venice Depot, the excitement of the circus and the arrival of the circus train is being preserved, along with a commemorative statue of Gunther Gebel-Williams.

The Venice Circus Arts Foundation, Inc., (classified under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3)) is working to preserve the parcel of land behind the Venice Arena, once the winter quarters for the "Greatest Show on Earth." This special place in American Circus History is in danger of disappearing with current plans for commercial development of the site.

The Venice Circus Arts Foundation, Inc. wants to reintroduce Venice (and the world) to its marvelous history. Your support and commitment will make you a vital part of the team working to preserve the circus arts.


The Mission of the Venice Circus Arts Foundation is to preserve the circus arts and their heritage (in Venice), create unique educational opportunities, encourage significant economic development and promote family entertainment through the circus experience.

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We are a 501(C)3 Non-Profit Organization. An account has been set up to take donations to help restore the arena. All donations are tax deductible. Remember that the deadline for making a contribution for last year's taxes is April 15th.

If you prefer to send a contribution by check, please mail to:

The Venice Circus Arts Foundation
P. O. Box 2220
Venice Florida 34284.

We will send a receipt for your taxes.

For those who prefer to make a credit card or PayPal contribution, we have placed the link here for you. THANK YOU.

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Check out the fantastic comments and photos being submitted to Facebook. We also welcome photos taken at the Venice Arena "in days gone by" that we may feature here on this website.

Click on the button to view VCAFI archives.

Click on the button to view VCAFI Photo Album.


VCAFI Current & Upcoming Events

Circus Family Fun Day
Presented by the Venice Circus Arts Foundation, Inc.
Saturday, November 3, 2012, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Venice Arena, 1401 S. Ringling Drive

Circus Arts Wine and Cheese
Presented by the Venice Circus Arts Foundation, Inc.
Saturday, November 10, 2012, 4 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Historic Venice Train Depot, 303 E. Venice Ave
Tickets $20

Venice Concert Band
Conducted By Bill Millner

Presented by the Venice Circus Arts Foundation, Inc.
Saturday, November 17, 2012, 3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Venice Arena, 1401 S. Ringling Drive

Other Upcoming Events the VCAFI is participating in:

Sun Fiesta
Where: Centennial Park, 200 block of W. Venice Avenue
Friday, October 19-21, 2012
Time: 5:00 PM - Opening Activities

REV3 Triathalon Expo
Where: Maxine Barritt Park, 1800 S. Harbor Drive
Friday, October 26-28, 2012
Time: Friday: 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday: Conclusion - Sharky's & Maxine Barritt Park

Holiday Parade
Where: West Venice Avenue, downtown
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Time: 7:00 PM

VCAFI Guest Speaker Presentations

We are scheduled to present our cause to several local organizations. If you would like a VCAFI Guest Speaker for your group or organization please contact us for available dates.

We can also provide circus memorabilia and could possibly sell items, (circus jewelry, tee shirts, etc.) at the event as a fund raiser.

Visit one of our sponsors at

Please support the VCAFI by supporting our presentations. If you have an idea for a fundraiser please by all means contact us:

Mail to:
The Venice Circus Arts Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 2220
Venice Florida 34284
Visit us at:
King Solomon's Treasures
1250 US Hwy 41 ByPass, Venice

Remember we are a 501(c)3 and your donation is tax deductible. Support the arts, support our community, support our history! Thank you.

Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey circus parade from depot to arena.After arriving at the Venice Depot, the circus animals, performers and equipment traveled west on Venice Avenue to Taminai Trail (The Rialto) then south to the arena. Picture taken at corner of The Rialto and Venice Avenue.

Open Letter to Friends of the Save the Venice Circus Arena

Dear Friends,


Save The Venice Circus Arena project is at a critical point and your support and commitment makes you a vital part of the team working to preserve the circus arts. The group's mission is to restore and resurrect the arena to its original form and bring the building back to its former glory. Let's reintroduce Venice (and the world) to it's marvelous history and tradition. Benefits of our project include:

  • Increase tourism to our beautiful city of Venice with pride
  • Increase revenue to boost the economy of Venice and add to the city budget
  • Create and improve the job base in SW Florida where unemployment is still high
  • Give the families of Venice and surrounding areas more choices and opportunities for entertainment and recreation

Some ideas and concepts that The Venice Circus Arts Foundation have been discussing to modernize the 4,500-seat arena facility are a museum, dining area, movie soundstage, and convention hall. Activities such as circus performances and carnivals, concerts and dancing, sporting events, graduations, trade, auto, or garden shows are in our vision. How about a weekly or a regular basis venue for children and teenager activities such as dances, classes and sports competitions?


We now have over 3,000 supporters on our FaceBook page. Won't you please help us breathe life back into one of Florida's first tourist attractions and help turn the

The Venice Circus Arena from a blight to a bright light in the city of Venice and Sarasota County?

Fifth-generation trapeze artist Tito Gaona said giving up on historic city buildings is usually followed by regret. "It's easy to take down everything," he said. "And at the end they say, 'Man, I wish they would have kept it."