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Circus Sarasota Gala was as much fun as a day at the circus

Last Friday night’s Circus Sarasota Gala was as much fun as ... well, a day at the circus. Clowns, face painters and a sample of this season’s program added up to an evening that brought out the kid in everyone.

Clowns Jackie LeClaire, Karen Bell and Chuck Sidlow made some mischief in the crowd. At one point, Marie Pender was jostled in the crowd. It turned out that she was bumped by a miniature horse. Of course.

Guests were encouraged to wear their best circus party duds and event honoree Tana Sandefur wore a beautiful sweater embroidered with show folks. She and her husband, John, were surrounded with family for the party.

Local architect Rick Fawley and his wife, Coni, accessorized their outfits with the red clown noses that were handed to each arrival. Fran and John LaCivita were a couple of well-dressed clowns and Ray Peper’s outfit included a custom-crafted “Tribute to Dolly” top hat.

Of course, Dolly is Circus Sarasota’s co-founder Dolly Jacobs. She and her husband, co-founder Pedro Reis were having as much fun as everyone else. One highly-coveted live auction prize was the chance to “fly” on the trapeze with Dolly and gala chair Peg Nadel will be this year’s swinger.

Susan Wilcox, a Florida native, has lived in Bradenton for more than 20 years. She has been active in many local organizations as a volunteer or an employee.