The Ringling Bros. Circus said goodbye to fans and tradition on Sunday after almost 150 years in business entertaining people from all walks of life with high-flying acts and animal routines. In January, the parent company Feld Entertainment (who bought the circus back in 1967) announced that they were choosing to close the circus based on declining attendance and rising overhead costs to keep the company running. Kenneth Feld explained the decision by saying,
“We all have to embrace change. But there is a love for the circus that will never die. Our family has given a half century of life to something that would have ended 50 years ago.”
The circus’ last show, which was attended by former employees and other people connected with the company over the years, took place at Nassau Colosseum in New York. The owners called the final show a “celebration” and blamed the more technological hobbies of younger generations for causing the decline in interest of the show.
The Ringling Bros. Twitter account and some fans shared a few final moments from the show online as things progressed. The last show ever of The Greatest Show On Earth included their signature big cats and aerial acts, among other featured performers.
The Ringling farewell wasn’t a major event only for the owners and employees, however, as animal rights activist are celebrating an elephant-sized win after years of fighting against reported animal cruelties of the circus and similar shows. The circus has been boycotted by activist groups, especially in recent years, with PETA one of the major opponents. PETA Senior VP of Communications says “Ringling Brothers was a target of ours from the very beginning” and that the organization views the circus finally shutting down as a win and considers their boycotts and campaigning a major reason why it is happening.
Whatever the actual reason, or if it’s a mix of multiple outside factors, Ringling Bros. is no more after Sunday night and upcoming generations of children will have no direct experience with the traveling circus. Maybe now kids will threaten to run away with the Apple Store when they get mad at their parents.