The curtains have come down on the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus that had kept its fans enthralled for nearly one and a half centuries. It was a massive affair, and its mile-long train would transport its animals and staff from one city to another while the people would line the railway tracks watching and cheering as the train rolled by.

It was during the time when the circus was an entertainment option for the young and old alike, and there would be huge crowds who would gather at the venue to watch spellbound the antics of the trained animals or birds or the acrobats as they swung from one trapeze to another.

Then there were the jokers and clowns who would keep the audience in a jovial mood. Watching wild animals from close quarters was an exciting experience for the audience. In short, a circus used to be a fun filled entertainment package.

However, with the passage of time and with the development of alternate means of entertainment like the movies, and video games and the influence of the internet, the circus took a back seat and when animal rights groups descended on the scene accusing the owners of ill-treating the animals, it became a major problem for owners to retain its animals.

Their assets turned into liabilities.

The Ringling Circus

NBC News reports that the final performance was at the Nassau Coliseum in the suburbs of New York City and Ringling Bros. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson informed that the show would remain forever in the minds of the people as an unbelievable experience.

The roots of this massive apparatus for entertainment known as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus goes back to 1871.

However, the tag of the "Greatest Show on Earth" came in 1919 with the merger of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. In its early operations, there used to be three-ring tents in the circus that could accommodate 12,000 people and had two stages.

Future of the circus

With the departure of Ringling Bros., there will be 23 circuses left in the United States, but there are doubts as to how long they can survive.

The lack of interest in the circus stemmed from the emergence of alternative methods of entertainment. Ticket sales went down and touched rock bottom while animal activists put the final nail in the coffin by objecting to the captive animals and complaining of ill-treatment.

Winding up an establishment as massive as Ringling is not an easy affair because the animals have to be resettled. The staff also would have to be taken care of, but it has to be done. At the end of the day, it all boils down to preserving the memories.

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