The circus billed as “The Greatest Show on Earth” has come to an end after 146 years.
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus gave its final performance Sunday in Uniondale, New York, 50 kilometers east of New York City.
Ringling Brothers has its origins in the 19th century with showman P.T. Barnum.
Circus executives said the wild animals, acrobats, clowns and other circus acts that had entertained audiences for over a century could not withstand the 21st century competition of IPhones, the internet and video games.
A decline in ticket sales increased when the circus removed the elephants in May 2016, following years of protests from animal rights activists who said forcing animals to perform and transporting them around the country was abuse.
In January, Feld Entertainment, Ringling’s parent company, announced the unthinkable – the circus would close.
Sunday night the circus received a standing ovation, prompting ringmaster Jonathan Lee Iverson to say, “I thought the circus was antiquated? You mean you love the circus?” He led the circus performers, crew and audience through an emotional rendition of Auld Lang Syne.