Fans of the big top, from as far away as California, and Romania, packed St. Armands Circle’s Central Park Sunday, Jan. 13, for the 26th Circus Ring of Fame Inductions. Chuck Sidlow, senior program director for Circus Sarasota, emceed the event. “The circus is a mix of fantasy, industrial engineers, production genius and real superheroes,” he said, urging guests to study inductees’ bronze plaques lining the park “for a remarkable history lesson.”
This year, three acts entered the annals of circus lore: high-wire performers Charles Coronas and his late brother, Mathias; the late Timothy J. Holst, talent scout for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus; and Pablo Rodriguez and family, known for their aerial bar acts
Ava Rose Williams, with her great-grandfather Charles Coronas, a 2013 Ring of Fame Inductee, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday. Born in what is now the Czech Republic, the Coronas brothers rode unicycles and motorcycles across a 50-foot-tall tightrope before they turned 10. During the Soviet occupation, the pair escaped to France and eventually the U.S., where they performed in every major circus throughout the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
Adrienne, Matthew and Megan Holst accepted the Ring of Fame award on behalf of their late father, Tim Holst. Tim Holst started his career as a clown in 1972, but ultimately became “mentor, adviser, psychiatrist, brother and friend to the performers,” said Master of Ceremonies Chuck Sidlow during the induction ceremony. In 1984, Holst became the talent scout for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, a position that took him to 164 countries, where he recruited more than 3,000 people before his death in 2009.