On the outskirts of Tampa lies an unusual town, even by Florida standards.
Gibsonton was once home to traveling circus performers during the off season – tall men, bearded ladies, “Lobster Boy” etc. Thanks to special zoning laws, residents could “keep anything from elephants and monkeys to a dismantled Ferris wheel on their property” (-Weird FL).
When I first learned of the town, I was more than a little curious to check it out. But as I drove around, the reality was far from festive. A dying circus industry led to an impoverished population. “No Trespassing” signs warned visitors to keep their distance.
I was reminded of Gibsonton when I passed this scene in Portland. A hint of playful that alludes to something darker.