Ringling Brothers Closes Their Curtain After 146 Years

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After 146 years of countless performances, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus will close the curtain to their big top for good this year. ABC 13 reports that the owner of the circus company told the Associated Press that “the show will close forever in May.”

According to the New York Times, ticket sales declined sharply after elephants were phased out from the show. (The creatures were able to retire to a farm in Florida.) The circus slowly stopped using animals in their acts after their treatment was called into question by animal rights groups, which in turn, caused some of the public to think twice about attending the show.

But the public’s idea of entertainment has changed quite a bit in the past 146 years as well. The producer of the circus, Kenneth Feld, told the press, “There isn’t any one thing…This has been a very difficult decision for me and for the entire family.”

Four hundred cast and crew members will lose their jobs after the two touring groups end their final 30-date tour that wraps up in New York. Nearly 10 million people attend Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus each year.