For the area's many circus lovers, one of the highlights of every holiday season in this area every year is the Sailor Circus Holiday Spectacular.
This year's version is called the Enchanted Wand" and it features more than 100 young circus performers in 21 different acts.
It runs Saturday through Tuesday at the Sailor Circus Arena in Sarasota.
The performers from the world's longest-running youth circus perform aerial acts, unicycle stunts, juggling and lots more, all integrated into a holiday story that takes the audience through mystical lands inhabited by magical creatures.
Those "creatures" are actually Sailor Circus performers in costumes, though. The Holiday Spectacular is performed without animals.
The performers in the show are all between fourth and 12th grade. They're serious students of circus arts, and the training and experience they're getting now will help them become the next generation of big-top stars.
The holiday show is designed to appeal to all ages. Circus officials have called both the show and the ticket prices "family friendly."
The Sailor Circus is the largest youth circus in the world. More than a million people have seen its shows over the past 65 years.
Details: Dec. 27-30, Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista Drive, Sarasota. Show times: 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, 7 p.m. Monday. Tickets: $18 adults, $12 children 12 and under. Information: 941-355-9805, circusarts.org.
-- Marty Clear