Going dark: Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus brings down curtain, ends century-long run

After more than 145 years, the lights have gone dark on the iconic Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. 

The big top came down in New York in front of a sold-out crowd at Nassau Coliseum after 146 years, NBC News reported

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“The Greatest Show on Earth” ended with a standing ovation after ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson bid them farewell with, “Let’s go home and show everyone we are forever more the Greatest Show on Earth!”

Iverson then led the crowd through the circus tradition of singing “Auld Lang Syne.” Performers sang along and hugged one another.

Feld Entertainment, the company that owned Ringling Bros., announced in January that the shows were ending because of  to declining ticket sales after it retired its troupe of elephants in the wake of battles with animal rights groups, The New York Times reported.

UNIONDALE, NY - MAY 21: Members of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) picket on the final day of the Ringling Bros Barnum and Bailey Circus on May 21, 2017 in Uniondale, New York. Known as "The Greatest Show on Earth", the circus performed its final act after a 146 year run. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Animals that are owned by the show’s performers will be kept by their trainers, but others will be transferred to centers that can care for them, NBC News reported.

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