End of an era as Ringling Bros. gears up for last two shows 

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End of an era as Ringling Bros. gears up for last two shows 

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The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Animal trainer Alexander Lacey performs with trained tigers at a performance by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus  in March in Washington, DC, one of the final shows as Ringling Bros. prepares to end the 146-year big top tradition in May.

It’s the end of an era. 

After 146 years, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is folding up the big tent forever, shuttering the ticket windows and putting the animals out to pasture.

The circus has been a staple of American entertainment since the mid-1800s, wowing audiences with an array of exotic animals, breathtaking acrobatics, comedy and costumes. But reign of the ringmaster is over.

The circus will perform two final shows this month, the first this weekend on May 7 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence Rhode Island. The last show ever for the iconic circus is scheduled at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York on May 21.

Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros., announced in January that it was ending the circus tours due to high costs and declining ticket sales. 

The company, caving to years of protests over the treatment and training of circus elephants, announced it was retiring the pachyderms last year.

Acrobats perform as part of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus farewell tour , which is wrapping up this month in Rhode Island and New York. The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images

“Following the transition of the elephants off the circus, the company saw a decline in ticket sales greater than could have been anticipated,” Feld said in a statement earlier this year.

Other factors contributing to the demise of the circus in recent decades includes movies, the internet and video games.

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