Curtain falls on ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ after 146 years

A circus performer hangs upside down during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance in Washington, DC on March 19, 2015. Across America through the decades, children of all ages delighted in the arrival of the circus, with its retinue of clowns, acrobats and, most especially, elephants. But, bowing to criticism from animal rights groups, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced on March 5, 2015, it will phase out use of their emblematic Indian stars. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images)

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus that has wowed crowds for 146 years with its “Greatest Show on Earth” is taking its final bow.

The circus’ last show of three scheduled Sunday at the Nassau County Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, is sold out.

Ringling’s parent company, Feld Entertainment, announced in January it would close the production, citing declining attendance and high operating costs.

Animal rights activists had targeted the circus, saying that forcing animals to perform and transporting them around the country amounted to abuse. In May 2016, the company removed elephants from its shows, but ticket sales continued to decline.