Culture&Arts

Greatest Show On Earth Closes

Greatest Show On Earth Closes

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus gave its final performance Sunday in Uniondale, New York, 50 kilometers east of New York City.

Falling ticket sales and high running costs have taken their toll. "I'm gonna be the last word on it too", said Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson. That show was the more traditional, three-ring circus, while the one performing this weekend has a narrative storyline.

In recent years, the circus has come under fire from animal rights activists for its treatment of animals. Ticket sales had already fallen, but they dropped more significantly than anticipated after the elephants were retired last May, according to the statement.

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This experience offers fans insider details, exclusive interviews with performers and special ceremonial tributes to coincide with the final show. "It's a reunion, but it's bittersweet".

"We all have to embrace change", Kenneth Feld told the Associated Press before the final show.

Led by a lively "lion" and "tiger" roaring in triumph, members of PETA, Long Island Orchestrating for Nature, and CompassionWorks International gathered outside the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island, New York, to send the circus off the best way we knew how: with protest signs still held high and tissues in our hands to catch the tears of victory. They donned red clown noses and hugged friends not seen in years before gathering in front of a Ringling truck for a photograph. It was sold to Mattel in 1971, but the Feld family continued to manage the shows.

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The final show on Sunday evening was a sell-out and a worldwide audience can watch the event via a live stream on the Ringling website. The Felds bought the circus back in 1982.

Throughout its 146 year history, the massive, traveling circus elated crowds from small towns to big cities across America with its exotic animals, mile-long trains and death-defying feats - but not without courting its fair share of controversy. In 1898, when Ringling's "World's Greatest Show" first made its way to the nation's capital, some 15,000 people packed into a tent to view what The Washington Post then called "one of the finest zoological exhibits extant". Set in futuristic outer space, it included performances with big cats, motorcycles, clowns, ice skaters, aerialists and basketball players. He's been talking about the draw of circus life.

Be Civil - It's OK to have a difference in opinion but there's no need to be a jerk.

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