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Meadowlands Tradition Over As Ringling Brothers Shuts After 146 Years

Tigers in the Ringling Brothers circus
Tigers in the Ringling Brothers circus Photo Credit: Ringling Brothers website

The curtain is falling for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, an annual staple at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford and other area venues like the Barclay Center in Brooklyn.

Money was the deciding factor, Feld Entertainment CEO and Chair Kenneth Feld said on the company’s website .

Falling ticket sales dropped even further than expected after the organization retired its elephants in May.

The elephants were stars — and sideshows — since the circus was launched by the five Ringling Brothers in 1884. It was an annual tradition for the elephants to parade along Route 120 on the way to the Izod Center in East Rutherford as well as down Broad Street in Newark en route to the Prudential Center.

A ritual parade of elephants also made their way through the Midtown Tunnel when the show was at Madison Square Garden.

PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — had been protesting Ringling Brothers for 35 years and considers the closing a victory. It calls the organization “the saddest show on earth” on its website .

The last performance will be May 21 at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. Other show stops include Brooklyn, Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia and Boston.

The closing affects about 400 cast and crew members.

Feld Entertainment’s portfolio includes Marvel Universe LIVE!, Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross and Disney On Ice, among others. The company recently announced a new partnership to produce live tours of Sesame Street and expanded television coverage for the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross races.

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