Speed Reads

End of an Era

Ringling Bros. circus ends after 146 years

With ticket sales down and operating costs up, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus held its final performance Sunday in Uniondale, New York, after 146 years.

"We all have to embrace change," Kenneth Feld of Ringling's parent company, Feld Entertainment, told The Associated Press. "But there is a love for the circus that will never die." Feld Entertainment announced in January that the show would come to an end, eight months after the company, at the urging of animal rights activists, removed elephants from performances. The final circus featured aerialists, contortionists, clowns, motorcycle stunts, ice skaters, and dancing dogs.

Several former performers gathered before the final show to share their memories, including a clown named David Gregg, who told AP: "It's 146 years of tradition, older than American baseball. This was one of the last nomadic tribes running around the country."