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Ringling Bros. circus closing saddens Baraboo

BARABOO (WMTV) -- The curtains will soon be closing for “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is shutting down this spring after 146 years. The final performance will be May 21 in Uniondale, New York.

The company says ticket sales are not matching the high cost of running the show. Sales slowed even more after the circus stopped using elephants.

In a small town, news travels fast.

Baraboo native Tina Hinkel was surprised to hear the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is coming to a close, 146 years after it first began in Baraboo.

At Circus World, you can find a plethora of Ringling Bros. artifacts dating back to 1884.

"We have over 12,000 of these amazing lithographs in our collection," Circus World executive director Scott McDonnell said.

McDonnell says Ringling closing is a huge loss to the circus industry and to Baraboo.

"It's in the DNA of this community. It will sting for sure," he said.

After battles with animal rights groups, the company decided to end the use of elephants in the show.

"It was one of their contributing factors in the decision to close the touring unit of the circus."

The “Greatest Show on Earth” may be coming to an end, but the memory of it will forever stay alive in this small town.

"We met somebody a few weeks back who said one of the original trainers used to have one elephant he liked to ride around the town and he would stop in different bars and stores and stuff," Hinkel said. "That's kind of cool to hear different things like that, that you don't get anywhere else."

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