Greatest Show On Earth Bows Out With Last Performance

Live stream: Last-ever performance of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus

Ringling's absence leaves about 23 circuses on the road, of various size and format, in the United States today.

The other "Out of This World" show gave its final performance in Uniondale, New York on Sunday night. He said. After thanking almost every member of the company - from floor crew to train crew to bus drivers - Iverson led Nassau Coliseum through a rendition of "Auld Lang Syne".

He said the most hard moment came when he and his family had to tell the performers in January.

He said every circus has used Ringling Brothers as its compass and inspiration.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has shut down the big top.

In the early to mid-20th century, Ringling, which merged with Barnum & Bailey in 1919, was a much-anticipated event. Circus World will remain open, holding live performances and keeping the circus museum running.

"The nightmare of Ringling finally coming to an end after more than a century of chaining, caging, and beating animals into submission for human entertainment".

The circus has had several legal battles over the years with animal rights groups, and combined with declining sales, owners made the decision to close down the traveling circus for good.

The inclusion of circus acts using elephants, lions, tigers, pigs and other animals had brought complaints from animal rights activists over the years. She has spent the past 10 years organizing demonstrations against Ringling as a campaigner with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

"It is long overdue for this very cruel company to end their days", Byrne told NBC News. Some owned by the company are expected to be moved to zoos and conservation centers in the US. That show was the more traditional, three-ring circus, while the one performing this weekend had a narrative storyline.

Sunday's finale was a bittersweet moment for dozens of former Ringling employees - from chefs in the circus train's "pie car" to famed clown Bello Nock sporting his signature foot-high Mohawk - who met outside the Coliseum before the Sunday swan song to be together on what one of them called "The Saddest Day on Earth". On Saturday afternoon, under cloudy skies, fans streamed into the Nassau Coliseum in suburban NY to pay their last respects to the iconic show. "And they're the reason that they are and this is the Greatest Show on Earth. They will just have to meet on a different stage".

"I try to display to the public the friendship I have with my animals", he said. "But Ringling stonewalled for decades", PETA said in a statement posted on its website on Saturday.

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