CHICAGO (CBS) – It has been billed as “The Greatest Show On Earth” for 146 years.
Now, Ringling Brothers’ circus is set to take down the big tent.
CBS 2’s Sandra Torres spoke with people on Sunday, who are both happy and sad about the show not going on.
Chicagoan Sean Davis dedicated 10 years of his life to the Ringling Brothers circus.
“My experience with the Ringling Brothers was first as a crew member, then I became a clown,” said Sean Davis, former Ringling Bros. circus performer.
So when he heard the news that “The Greatest Show On Earth” was closing for good, he was shocked.
“I cried like a baby last night,” Davis said. “I’m not going to lie. I really did. It hurt, just as much as losing someone close to you and your family for me.”
The 146-year-old circus decided to end its journey because of declining ticket sales, after taking elephants out of the shows.
“All animals deserve total liberation,” said Eva Hamer.
For animal rights activists like Eva Hamer, the closing of the circus is a step in the right direction.
“We are overjoyed with this victory,” said Hamer, Direct Action Everywhere Chicago. “We believe this decision is a symbolic one.”
At least 500 performers will lose their jobs once the shows end in May.
But for Jonathan Snyder, who made a career in the circus, the industry is still alive and well.
“There’s always young and coming talent,” said Snyder, circus instructor at Aloft Loft Studios. “Look there’s people here, taking classes, trying to be the next thing, so I think it’s escalating until something big happens again.”
Feld Entertainment, which owns the Ringling Brothers circus, will have a press conference out of Florida on Monday morning to provide more information on their decision.
The final show for the circus will be on May 7 in Providence, Rhode Island.