- January 12, 2010
For some, the word circus is being used incorrectly today.
Isaac Morris, son of the late Ron Morris, said Jan. 13 at the Circus Ring of Fame induction that too often, the word circus is used pejoratively to mean chaos.
When really, to those who have grown up in the circus world, it means family.
That was evident by the crowd gathered in St. Armands Circle Park Sunday afternoon when the 2019 class was inducted into the Circus Ring of Fame.
This year’s class included Ron Morris, former owner of Sarasota Spotlight Graphics and Ring of Fame board member; Rodos Troupe and Palace Duo, a family aerialist team that included Hans and Rosie Rode who eventually opened Heidelberg Castle in downtown Sarasota, which featured Bavarian-style food, music, dancing and acrobats; The Hernandez Family, an acrobatic act started by Lisa and Manuel Hernandez that expanded to include their children Randy, Sylvia, Danny, Timmy and Tony; and Carla Wallenda, the only daughter of Helen and Karl Wallenda who had a 78-year career beginning at the age of four. Her career included acts on the high wire, sway pole, cloud swing and more.
As each act was inducted, they were cheered on by family and friends in the crowd, continuing the family theme.
As Tony Hernandez took the stage, he said that his father pushed him and his siblings and made them the performers they came to be. He also said none of their success would have been possible without their mother.
“If our dad was the driving force that kept our act going, then our mother was the heart and glue,” he said.
Along with family, the tales of grit and perseverance shone through, indicating why each of these acts was earning a spot on the Ring of Fame.
Later in his speech, Isaac Morris continued to say what many of those involved in the circus know to be true.
“Life on tour is not for the easily queasy,” he said. “The show must go on. Keeping it going on was my dad’s specialty.”