PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After 146 years, the iconic Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey circus will bring down the big top for the very last time.
Michael Rice of Philadelphia reacted to the announcement, telling Eyewitness News, “that’s a terrible thing because I grew up with the circus.”
Michelle Gordon of Oreland added, “I get that it’s sad and it’s a tradition, but I can understand why sometimes you have to evolve with the world’s learnings and what we’ve learned about the treatment of animals.”
“It’s a hundred and whatever many years too late,” touted Caren Lee Brennan of Northern Liberties.
May 21 marks the final curtain call — now sold out– at New York’s Nassau Coliseum.
“And I’m certainly not one of the ticket holders,” said Brennan.
Seats that typically sell for $20-$200 are now being offered on the secondary market for up to $2,000. Revelers will get one last peek at an American spectacle CEO Kenneth Feld called an unsustainable business.
“From an entertainment standpoint, there are so many other options,” said Brennan.
“The greatest show on earth is probably taking part in your bedroom, on your video game,” said Rice.
Others point to costly court battles with animal rights activists that ultimately led to the show retiring its elephants last May.
“It definitely has to do with people becoming more knowledgeable on animal rights,” said Chris Gordon of Oreland.
“But, they will go to the zoo and see them in a cage,” countered Rice.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA celebrated the closure on social media, while issuing a warning to other animal exhibitors, including Sea World, saying they’re next.
“I think it could happen if they don’t learn to adapt,” said Gordon.
“It’s not just about entertainment, it’s about education,” said Rice.