An end to the circus

It may not have been universally beloved, but it was undeniably iconic. And now, it is no more.

The famed Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced last week that after 146 years, it’s shutting down in May. The Feld family, which owns the Florida-based brand, said declining attendance was the problem, and blamed a number of things: “High operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise,” said the Associated Press.

What once could lay a fair claim to its billing as “The Greatest Show on Earth” didn’t seem so thrilling anymore in a time of video games, instant smartphone entertainment and giant multiplexes. Plus, once animal advocates got the show to stop using its elephants last year, ticket sales plummeted.

Now, according to the AP, the rest of the animals will go shelters and conservation centers, while some 500 entertainers and support staff will lose their jobs.

Will you miss the circus? Did it outlast its time? Drop me a line at rrollins@coxohio.com.