Gibsonton, Florida: Boot Monument For Civic Circus GiantA reproduction of circus giant Al Tomaini's 35-inch-high boot is perched atop a towering granite pillar that's as tall as he was.
Visitor Tips and News About Boot Monument For Civic Circus Giant
Giant's Boot in Freak Wintering Town
The Giant's Boot ain't lookin' so hot nowadays. It's peeling apart and feels really strange and waxy. The monument company seems to be shut down, the sign is leaning against a small house, and we didn't see any work area. There's a headstone against the fence that says "Rocks Monuments." The Giant's Camp is still there and open -- there were people hanging out on the back porch until it started to rain. We had to ask them about the boot -- it's right out in front, but we drove right past it. It kind of blends into the trailer behind it, I guess. Like I said, it's about to fall apart. My husband said, "Why don't they just put out the other boot?"[Mj Shenk, 03/15/2004]
October 2006 -- Giant's Camp cafe reported by several tipsters as closed.
Melvin Burkhart, a circus performer and magician who could hammer nails into his nostrils, died of a stroke on November 8th. Burkhart, 94, was the last of the group that had chosen Gibsonton, FL (AKA "Gibtown") as their circus freak wintering town.... [11/18/2001] Complete News Story
Jeanie "The Half Girl" Tomaini, 82, died in early August. She was a long time resident of Gibsonton, Florida's Giant's Camp and "Showtown USA." Jeanie and her late husband, Al "The Giant" Tomaini, built this popular winter home for circus and sideshow performers...... [08/29/1999] Complete News Story
Circus Freak Wintering Town
My parents -- Al the 8' 4 1/2" Giant and Jeanie the 2' 6" "Half girl" -- built this camp out of the swamp, 10 miles south of Tampa, Florida, back in the early 40's in the town of Gibsonton, FL, better known as Showtown USA. Our restaurant is known all over the country for its bad waitresses and good food. For years it has been said "if a storm blows Gibsonton away, I will meet you at the Giant's Camp for coffee." We also have a custom monument business on the property where we make custom color monuments, which we can ship anywhere. My Dad "The Giant" died in 1962; my Mother, who is almost 82, was just featured on TLC 2-hour special SIDESHOW. In our monument office we have over 360 autographed photos, of movie stars, politicians, talk show host, singers and even astronauts, covering the ceiling and walls. We have a "Dirt" collection from all over the world, and the "Nail Bed" that Jerry Springer laid on, on national T.V..
This is a fun place to visit and have lunch, or just sit around on the porch, and see how tombstones are made. Jeanie is in the office a few times a week, and is always ready to reminisce about her life in show business. You can see the Giant's boot and my Giant Ring collection. We are in the process of having a silk screen made from the orignal T-shirts that the Giant sold, and copies of the circus and carnival photos from my Mother's personal collection.[Rustie (Judy Tomaini) Rock, 02/01/1998]
Gibsonton was famous as a Sideshow Wintering town, home to Percilla the Monkey girl, the Anatomical Wonder, and the late Lobster Boy, who was murdered. The Siamese twin Hilton sisters ran a fruit stand here. It's got the only post office with a counter for midgets. Aside from the agreeable winter climate, Gibsonton offered unique circus zoning laws that allowed residents to keep elephants and circus trailers on their front lawns. The Giant's Boot shown here is just down the street from Giant's Camp.
Boot Monument For Civic Circus Giant
- US Hwy 41 S., Gibsonton, FL
- On the southbound (west) side of US 41 just south of the bridge over the Alafia River. I-75 exit 250, drive west on Gibsonton Drive for 2.5 miles, then turn right onto US 41 and drive north for one-half-mile.