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Retiring Ringling Brothers Circus To Make Final Appearance In Manchester

Connor Mahar
The final circus train as it passed through New Hampshire

The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus will perform in Manchester for the last time, this weekend.

This hundred and forty-six year-old spectacle is known as the Greatest Show On Earth. Recently, it’s been stopping through Manchester every year since the early 2000’s.

Since then, ticket sales have declined. Animal Rights activists pressured the circus to retire their elephants a year ago, and the circus itself will retire in May.

The Flying Gravity youth circus troupe will be in Manchester to witness the Ringling Brothers’ final performances here.  

Jonathan Roitman runs their program in Wilton, NH.  “They are organizing a trip and they are quite excited about it,” he said.

Today, Roitman says, circus is more like dance and theater, and less about clowns and trained animals. Only a few “traditional” circuses are left. Still – he says, of his troupers, “there’s one or two who have the idea of becoming professional circus performers when they grow up and might have dreamed of working for Ringling and that won’t be possible now.”

Kristina Snyder is a member of the New Hampshire Animal Rights League. She and other animal rights activists plan to protest outside the event this weekend. “We were very excited when Ringling announced its closure,” she said. Still, she says she worries that after the circus closes, the animals will be put back to work in other shows.