At Thursday's Manatee Port Authority meeting, members approved a 10-year lease, with renewable five-year option to extensions after the initial contract expires in 2024.
The Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus train cars will be parked on two tracks (#3 and #4) on the north side of the port, just a stone's throw from the county jail.
Feld will pay $22,000 a year for the lease, and for six weeks every winter the 200 or more circus performers will live in 30 of the 60-plus cars set up to transport the circus from town to town. During the winter stay, performers will travel back and forth to Feld's home facility in Palmetto.
Circus performers will spend the six weeks each year practicing and preparing for the next year's show at the Palmetto facility, while repairs and maintenance are being done to the train at the port location.
Feld has housed its winter operations for the last 20 years in Hillsborough County, next to the state fairgrounds.
The company's Feld Motor Sports and Disney on Ice shows travel via seaport, making the move to Port Manatee an even sweeter deal. Both parties say the agreement is perfect.
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