BALTIMORE (WJZ) — “The Greatest Show On Earth” is coming to Baltimore for the last time this week.
Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus announced earlier this year that after nearly 150 years, the show would shut down for good after their last performance in May.
“Of course we’re sad and it was a very difficult decision,” says Kenneth Feld, chairman, and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which produces Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey’s show.
Earlier this year, Feld Entertainment broke the news to the public and it’s 500 employees.
Former circus performers living in Maryland, Sheryl May and her husband Gregory spoke to WJZ about their time as performers and what performing together means for circus staff.
“These people, they’re not just losing their job. They’re losing their home, they’re losing their families,” says Gregory May.
For decades, the circus’ star attractions were paraded outside Lexington Market.
But, that all came to end last year, after mounting pressure from animal rights groups led to the elephants being phased out and sent to a sanctuary.
“Last year when we retired the elephants from the touring units, we saw a much steeper drop in sales,” says Juliette Feld, with Feld Entertainment.
Officials say that combined with high operating costs and changing public taste it became clear the time was right to say good-bye.
Plenty of Baltimore fans are sounding off about the last performance of “The Greatest Show On Earth” here in Charm City.
The circus even held a special farewell event at the B&O Railroad Museum on Wednesday.
This is last time that the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus will ever visit Baltimore.
“Yeah, I’m going to miss it, even though I’m older. I took my son to see it,” says one local.
The show will open at royal farms arena on Thursday and last through the April 30.
The circus’ final show is set to be in May. The final shows will be in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 7 and in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau County Coliseum on May 21.