It's a sad day for clowns and lion trainers everywhere. The "Greatest Show On Earth" has officially folded up the big tent one final time. Ringling Bros. Circus performed their final circus show last Sunday night.
It was an emotional 2 1/2 hour final show for performers and fans of the long-time running show. According to a report by ABC News, the crew was more like family than co-workers, with many of the performers being second, third, and even fourth generation performers.
The closing of the show comes after efforts of trying to keep the 146-year running circus alive. "We tried all these different things to see what would work, and supported it with a lot of funding as well, and we weren't successful in finding the solution," said Kenneth Feld, CEO of Feld Entertainment, the company that owns the circus production.
Americans in every generation have memories of the circus. However, as time passed, fewer and fewer people bought tickets to actually attend the shows. In a world dominated by social media and technology, the circus became sadly outmatched in its quest to entertain audiences.
One incident that escalated the decline of the circus was the removal of elephants from their shows. In recent years, animal rights activists had campaigned heavily for the removal of animals, especially elephants, from the circus. They cited animal cruelty as their main motivating factor.
While Ringling Bros. Circus eventually announced they would no longer be showcasing elephants, the move came with mixed reactions from individuals. Some were glad to see the elephants go, but others refused to watch the circus perform without them.
"We know now that one of the major reasons people came to Ringling Bros. was getting to see elephants," said Juliette Feld. "We stand by that decision. We know it was the right decision. This was what audiences wanted to see and it definitely played a major role."
While it will never be truly clear to determine what caused the decline of the circus in America, it will be missed by many. The days of traveling town to town by railroad and performing for a new audience every night are now simply memories of an era in a history book. The world has evolved and left no room for circus acts.
Watch the video below to see as they take their final bow.
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