Sarasota sârˌəsōˈtə [key], city (1990 pop. 50,961), seat of Sarasota co., SW Fla., on Sarasota Bay; settled c.1884, inc. 1914. It is a yachting and fishing resort with varied light manufacturing, and packing houses handling the citrus fruit, celery, and beef raised in the area. Sarasota is the former winter home of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and is the site of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, with its excellent Peter Paul Rubens collection, a circus museum, and the Ringlings' mansion. Other attractions are the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, the Cars of Yesterday Museum, and an opera company and orchestra. The Ringling College of Art and Design (with its Sarasota Art Museum) and New College of Florida also are in Sarasota. Nearby, on the keys off the Gulf of Mexico, are many beautiful white-sand beaches.

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