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All Aboard the Polar Express With Sailor Circus

The Sarasota Sailor Circus Holiday presents its annual Holiday Spectacular show.

For its Holiday Spectacular show this year, the Sarasota Sailor Circus will bring to life one of the most beloved Christmas stories of all time.

From Thursday, Dec. 27 until Sunday, Dec. 30, the youthful performers will present their adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg’s popular children’s book “The Polar Express” in circus form.

The annual holiday show is one of the highlights of the Sailor Circus season and is the culmination of four months of rehearsals and training—all done after the regular school day is over.

“These performers practice about 20 hours a week,” said Susan Loeffler, program director. “I think the holiday show is fun because they’re bringing a wonderful story to life through the circus arts. With dance and characters, it brings the whole art together. It’s fun to do stories.”

In the “Polar Express” book there are several key characters, one of which is The Conductor of the 40-foot train that is the true star of this year’s show.

“I’m the conductor of the train, so I get to ride on the train and tell the children what to do,” said Bailey Yelding, a Sarasota High School sophomore who has had several generations of relatives perform in the Sailor Circus before her. “I also have lines to run right before the show and before and after action.”

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There will be about 115 fourth through 12th grade students performing in the show, and most of them appear in several different acts. Yelding says during this show, she will perform in the Spanish web, the cradle (which is a partner act), the ladder trapeze and the bicycle built for five.

Loeffler talked about some of the other types of acts audiences will be treated to during the Holiday Spectacular.

“One of the highlights of the show is when they open with an aerial display and they’re all dressed like train conductors,” she said. “They’ll be performing aerial silks, high wire, the flying trapeze, and there will be jugglers juggling “hot” chocolate. It will be great.”

Needless to say, a show of this size cannot be pulled off without the help of countless volunteers, and the Sailor Circus is fortunate to have an army of parent and community volunteers to assist with almost every aspect of the production, including the concessions.

Jeff Voyles was the arena manager for the Sailor Circus for 40 years. This year, he’s back again—this time as a volunteer. He talked about how special an organization the Sailor Circus is and how he just couldn’t stay away.

“It’s a very unique activity—it’s casual, but yet intense and serious when it comes to practice,” he said. “It’s an extra-curricular activity that anyone can do. And it’s all about family.”

The Sailor Circus Holiday Spectacular

2075 Bahia Vista Street, Sarasota

Dec. 27, 28, 29 and 30 at 7 p.m.

Dec. 29 and 30 at 2 p.m.

Adult tickets are $16 and children’s tickets are $12. If guests bring in a can of food for All Faiths Food Bank, they will receive a free bag of popcorn.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit the website at www.circussarasota.org, call 941-366-0156 or go to the box office at 2075 Bahia Vista Street.

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