From Hitler to high wires, 100-year-old circus performer has see - FOX 13 News

From Hitler to high wires, 100-year-old circus performer has seen it all

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Charles Coronas has been through a lot, and he isn't ready to slow down anytime soon.

"I have seen on television that people are living to 105, 107, 109," the New Port Richey resident told FOX 13 on Friday. "I am only 100."

Being 100 years old is not his claim to fame. Being the oldest living circus performer is.

Coronas was born to a long line of circus performers. Most were aerialists.

He became a top-flight wire walker, and is expected to be inducted into Circus Ring of Fame in Sarasota.

When Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia, he shut down all the circuses and Coronas was forced to get a job in a movie theater. After World War II, the Soviets invaded. They took his home and property.

Eventually, he got the opportunity to leave for France to perform. A talent scout caught his act and brought him and his troupe to the United States.

This weekend, he will be at the Circus Florida Festival at the Florida State Fairgrounds to watch the newest generation of Coronases perform.

Coronas was lucky. He was never hurt, but knows the risks that aerialists take every time they step into the ring. So he can't help but worry about his grandkids.

"I am scared to sleep sometimes," he continued. "The telephone rings, and I am scared that something happened."

For more information about the Circus Florida Festival, click on over to

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