Clowns, aerialists, Cossack riders, lions, tigers and nearly 200 other human and animal performers took their final bows with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus Sunday night at the renovated Nassau Coliseum, bringing the Greatest Show on Earth to a close after 146 years.
At the close of the last show, ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson thanked all the performers and the audience, leading everyone in a rendition of "Auld Lang Syne", which is traditionally sung at the end of every tour. His son, who also performed, stood by his side. This year's circus show is named "That 70s Circus", paying homage to the traditional American circus along with 1970s tunes and clothing, the Baraboo News Republic (http://bit.ly/2q3n0E8 ) reported.
It was an emotional 2 1/2 hours for those who worked on the circus.
Foreign performers without new jobs will lose their work visas shortly after the final show, and the Felds are covering plane tickets and reimbursing mileage for road trips home.
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has begun its final show after 146 years of wowing audiences with the "Greatest Show on Earth". "People are not really concerned with wildlife until they feel it and see it and enjoy it", he said, "and love it as much as I do, until they've seen it with their own eyes. We don't go on safaris". In the video above, the troupe's clowns, animal acts and acrobats take their final bow. "And I think we've accomplished that goal".
Circus World Executive Director Scott O'Donnell said the season opener unfolded without a hitch.
The finale, announced by Feld in January, came a year after the company bowed to pressure from animal rights activists and agreed to stop using elephants in its performances.
That contingent was no longer enough to sustain Ringling Bros.' business, however, with sharp declines in ticket sales only increasing after the circus eliminated elephant shows in 2016. People, it seemed, didn't want to see a circus without elephants. The company has, however, always maintained that its treatment of animals was humane.
Feld Entertainment CEO Kenneth Feld said that "we all have to embrace change". It was sold to Mattel in 1971, but the Feld family continued to manage the shows.
As for those who hope this is all just a stunt and the circus will be back, Ringling management says that's not happening.
His parents met at the Ringling circus in 1954. A handler of big cats weeps as the beasts lope out of the ring for the last time.
The circus has a crew of 500 persons along with 100 animals.
Attendance had dropped for the circus in recent years.