"The world is losing a place of wonder." These were the words Jonathan Lee iverson, ringmaster of the Ringling Brothers Circus could say about the situation of the world-famous entertainers. After more than a century in operation, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was reported to be officially closing.

Ringling Brothers suffering from falling ticket sales

The Circus closing was said to be a response to the ever-declining ticket sales, which led people concerned to declare the business "unsustainable." After 146 years, it seemed that the circus cannot compete with the age of computers and smartphones when it comes to providing joy, wonderment, or perhaps even passing distractions for children and adults alike.

The circus was founded in 1871, then known as "P. T. Barnum’s Grand Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan & Hippodrome." Of course, animals considered "exotic" cannot be really separated from the imagery when one thinks of the circus, and this was the case when the "Menagerie" was first established.

However, call-outs from Animal Rights groups in the past few years have led the Ringling Brothers Circus to let go of some of the animals they have, most notably the elephant. Ticket sales have already been falling and this blow only added to the circus' already grim predicament. One could observe that it really was only a matter of time before this 500-crew entertainment ensemble threw a white flag of surrender to pack up the caravan for good.

Ringmaster Jonathan Lee Iverson recounts his first encounter with the circus with bittersweet memories. While he could easily believe that his 9-year old self saw real unicorns, even at 41 years old the magical place could still induce in him a sense of awe.

Autumn Luciano was a photographer who flew in from Michigan to see the final show.

She shared that what she witnessed felt more like a funeral than anything else, but added that she is "trying not to mourn it in a sad way. Circus is all about being happy," Luciano said.

Closing history

Daniel Eguino had been with the circus for almost all his life, as he was the son of a trapeze artist father and a contortionist mother.

Eguino said he was "heartbroken" because of what happened. “Not because they close the show that I work in — it’s that they close history,” he said.

Despite all this, many still believe that the magic of the Ringling Brothers Circus, or just the circus in general, cannot be truly banished. It could return one day, recreated, re-branded so that it could fit the modern age.

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