Gibsonton, Florida

Gibsonton is a town on the east side of the Tampa Bay. For about 70 years Gibsonton was the off-season home of circus and carnival performers, earning it the nickname “Showtown U.S.A.”. The town was first settled by Al and Jeanie Tomaini, who were performers themselves. Al was 8 feet tall and Jeanie was about 2 and a half feet tall. Many of their peers followed them looking for a place where they wouldn’t be considered “freaks”. A special zoning law in the residential part of Gibsonton allows residents to have carnival rides and exotic animals on their property. Today, few of those carnival workers remain in Gibsonton, but it is still common to see old carnival rides in front yards across the town.