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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bradenton circus family aims to be 'awesome' at state fair

Folks gather at the Giraffic Menagerie at the state fair in Tampa to feed 12-year-old Twiggs the giraffe a carrot or two Thursday Sarah Whitman, Times Staff Writer
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Somewhere past the midway games among dozens of trailers, two camels rest while a bejeweled circus performer cleans up their droppings.
Unconcerned with smudging her bright red lipstick, Lletsira Coronas bites off the end of a carrot, spits it out and feeds the rest to the animals.
A few corn dog and funnel cake booths away, a giraffe named Twiggs stretches his gray tongue as far it can go. He aims for a treat in a little girl's hand. Gawking kids stand nearby and squeal with delight.
"It's a giraffe at the fair," onlooker Mark Staib said. "That's pretty awesome."
Lletsira Coronas works with a horse during a circus performance on Tuesday afternoon with Circus Hollywood, that includes several different kinds of animals.
"Awesome" is the reaction the Coronas family of Bradenton seeks year after year when it brings a circus and a zoo to the Florida State Fair, which runs through Monday.
The family's Circus Hollywood and Giraffic Menagerie features more than 100 animals ranging from camels to kangaroos. Some of the animals perform tricks. Others, like 12-year-old Twiggs, spend their days interacting with fairgoers from behind red metal bars.
Animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals call it a horror story. Husband and wife Serge and Stevie Coronas call it life.
The Coronas' grandparents were in the business. Now their adult children, Serge Jr., Nicole and Crystal, help run Circus Hollywood.
They handle Agriculture Department citations for things such as damaged animal enclosures by "correcting the problem," Stevie Coronas said. Records show no reports of abuse.
"These are beautiful animals, and they are well cared for," Coronas said. "We have nothing to hide."
read more at:http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/bradenton-circus-family-aims-to-be-awesome-at-state-fair/1152743

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