PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – After 146 years, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus dazzled with its last “Circus Extreme” show ever.
Thousands of people packed into the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence Sunday to say goodbye to the circus.
It’s closing due to high operating costs and declining ticket sales, which saw a drop after elephants were eliminated from the show in 2016.
Jon Molesworth and his family came from Vermont, he said, “We’re big circus fans and we love the circus and wanted to come to the last show.”
Sara Fontaine flew in from Los Angeles where she auditioned to be a clown and helps Ringling with promotions.
“I finally found my family. It’s great, I love it.” said Fontaine.
Throughout the years, many people have run away to live a life under the big top, spending lifetimes perfecting high-flying feats and death defying stunts.
Now, hundreds of performers and crew members are taking their final bows.
Dawna Oak has been a Ringling costume designer for 20 years. She says, “It’s a heartbreaking moment, but it also shows you how many people the circus is so dear to and its something that we’ll always remember.”
Carola and Mason Lacoste brought their three-year old son to the show, hoping the memories will last him a lifetime.
“Bittersweet feelings about it being over.” said Carola, “I mean, I feel good for the animals, but it’s such a family tradition, we’re sad to see it go.”
Eyewitness News is told some of the animals will be looking for homes.
Some of the cast and crew members will join other Feld Entertainment shows, while others will return to their home countries.
The “Out Of This World” circus tour is wrapping up in New York on May 21st.