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Watch last Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance live

22 May 2017

The final "Greatest Show on Earth" was held at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in NY.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus took a final, bittersweet bow Sunday, staging its last three shows here after 146 years of entertaining American audiences with gravity-defying trapeze stunts, comically clumsy clowns and tamed tigers.

In recent years, the circus has come under fire from animal rights activists for its treatment of animals.

Capping a legacy that stretches back to the legendary 19th century showman P.T. Barnum, the circus bid adieu with a series of shows over the weekend at the Nassau Coliseum.

"Circus world is not Ringling, Circus World is not going anywhere, we will be here", Dave Saloutos, the ringmaster at Circus World, said.

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Ringling Brothers has two touring companies, each with as many as 200 full-time workers.

TAP HERE to read and watch how performers are dealing with the end of the circus. "But while the show is over for that circus, there are still others that continue these same types of horrific abuse", says PETA Assistant Manager John Di Leonardo.

Owners of the company said the tough decision had been made due to falling ticket sales and high operating costs. Its outer-space-themed show Sunday featured BMX bikes, Segways and, for the first year, an ice floor and skaters. "But Ringling stonewalled for decades", PETA said in a statement posted on its website on Saturday.

UNIONDALE, N.Y. - After 146 years of dazzling and thrilling adults and children alike, the Greatest Show on Earth is fading into history.

Before Feld, there was Phineas Taylor Barnum's traveling show of animals and human oddities, and the five Ringling brothers' juggling act and skits in Wisconsin in the late 1800s.

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The review reports that the show was "better than many anticipated it would be for the small admission fee of 25 cents" and reports that at the evening performance "over 600 tickets were sold and there were not seats enough for the spectators".

The circus has long defended its treatment of animals as humane.

"I am sad that it's going to be over", said Melissa Angevine of Walton, New York.

Feld's father and uncle bought the circus in 1967.

But that didn't stop the circus from giving the performance of their life, one last time, to one last crowd.

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Watch last Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance live