Seeing Things, Saying Things

Musings About Writing, Photography and Teaching

There Goes the Circus and its Train for Good

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For decades the circus traveled by train. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey had two trains, named red train and blue train. One of those is shown in Pittsburgh in November 2011.

The news broke on Saturday, Jan. 14, that Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus will be ending its traveling circus shows in May.

Feld Entertainment, which operates the circus, cited declining ticket sales and high operating costs. News reports indicated that removal of elephants from the performances in May 2016 depressed attendance far more than expected.

I don’t remember if I ever saw a Ringling Bros circus. My hometown in east central Illinois was too small for Ringling to play.

I do have a memory of going to a smaller circus and being disappointed. Maybe that colored my attitude toward the circus because I’ve never had any interest as an adult in seeing one. It always struck me as the sort of thing that families with children would attend.

It is also a throwback to the 19th century when entertainment options were more limited than they are today. The circus is just one more thing whose time seems to have passed.

Will the circus be missed? Maybe, but I wonder how many people saying “oh, no” have been to a performance of late if not at all.

Losing something that has always been there tends to evoke an emotional response in many. And so it seems to be with the circus.

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Written by csanders429

January 15, 2017 at 7:21 am

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