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Ringling Bros. circus performs final show after 146-year run

26 May 2017

The circus' last show at the Nassau County Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, is sold out, and former circus performers will be in the audience. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is calling it quits after Sunday in Long Island. "Now that we have made this decision, as a company, and as a family, we will strive to support our circus performers and crew in making the transition to new opportunities".

People pose for pictures in front of a trailer after watching a show on the last day of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale.

Circus managers said in January that declining attendance and increasing operating costs are forcing what is known as the "Greatest Show on Earth" to come to a close. All spent months on the road, traveling from city to city in Ringling's train cars and describing themselves as a giant family, albeit one with many clowns.

Owner Feld Entertainment announced earlier this year that the show would end its 146-year run in May.

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"Circus world is not Ringling, Circus World is not going anywhere, we will be here", Dave Saloutos, the ringmaster at Circus World, said.

His parents met at the Ringling circus in 1954.

A representative of Ringling Bros could not be reached on Sunday for comment, but in the past it defended its treatment of animals as humane. Many in the audience had tears.

Bario cried as she watched the final big cat act with its leopards, tigers and Alexander Lacey, the handsome animal trainer.

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Feld said they all have to "embrace change" and there is a love for the circus "that will never die". They donned red clown noses and hugged friends not seen in years before gathering in front of a Ringling truck for a photograph. The circus has long defended its treatment of animals as humane.

The circus billed as "The Greatest Show on Earth" has come to an end after 146 years.

For some circus fans Saturday, it was a chance to say goodbye to beloved childhood memories.

Feld's father and uncle bought the circus in 1967. Ringling Brothers' elephants are now being housed at a special facility outside Orlando.

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