Thursday, January 6, 2011

A perfect setting for the Book Fair

The site of the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair, The Coliseum was featured in the 1985 movie Cocoon.

The Coliseum was built during the Roaring Twenties as a ballroom. It was the Jazz Age, and young flappers just wanted to have fun; amid the ballyhoo and trumpery of the real estate boom, the American idols of the times like crooner Rudy Vallee set hearts aflutter with their boyish good looks and their melodious voices.

St. Petersburg residents consider it a treasure, and rightly so. With its polished oak floors and graceful arches, the venue, no longer used exclusively as a dance hall, still excites those who enter its doors. It evokes a time past when jazz and swing were in the air and big names like Paul Whiteman and Harry James brought their big bands to the Sunshine City.

The city of St. Petersburg bought the building in 1989 and made extensive renovations, including a large refinishing project completed just last year.  It is considered one of the Bay area's most unique facilities, hosting trade shows, dances, banquets, and, of course, the annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

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