Ringling Brothers Circus Takes Final Bow in Our Area

WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP -- It's the end of an era as the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus performed for the last time in our area.

While clowns and acrobats were all smiles at Sunday's final show, fans were sad to say goodbye.

Ringling Brothers first female ringmaster kicked off the final show at Mohegan Sun Arena near Wilkes-Barre, ending a history of local performances that began in 1919.

For fans looking at animals outside the arena, it was a different story.

"I was talking to the trainer she almost had me in tears, she was like I don't know what I am going to do, all I know is the animals, very emotional, I am glad I am here though," said Martha Maldonado, Mountain Top.

"It's very strange, very strange. My mother took me as a child. I took my daughter. It's my stepson's first time and unfortunately his last," said Laura Lee Nolin, Harford.

Over the years, Ringling Brothers tried to change with the times. Local performances halted in the late '50s when the big top era ended. Still, the fascination continued.

Newswatch 16 was there in 1993 when the circus train made a stop in Luzerne County.

In 2000, Ringling Brothers returned to the newly built arena near Wilkes-Barre.

Recently, controversy over the use of animals and changing tastes took a toll.

In January, the circus announced this year's tour would be the last.

Before Sunday's show, families surrounded performers, clinging to the magic.

The circus company is headed to New England for a few more weeks of shows. The very final Ringling Brothers performance will take place on Long Island in May.

9 comments

  • WarningFakeNews

    On the trend happening on WNEP now where there is an article about something that they would rather people not have opposing opinions on- eliminating the comment section doesn’t silence anybody, it drives them from your site. Just because we can’t comment on the piece about New York “giving” kids a free college education, doesn’t mean we’re dumb enough not to know who pays for it. Just sayin’

  • think positive

    So there can be no Circus without animals? Cirque du Soleil doesn’t use animals, as well as a long list of other “animal free” Circuses.

    • Lloyd Schmucatelli

      BUt what about those of us who want animal only circuses? We have rights too!!
      Animal friendly circus spectators live matter!!!

      #AFCSLM

      • All lives matter

        It’s not just about what people want. That’s the point. Animals don’t have a voice. just because you can’t hear them say they don’t want to be slaves to a circus doesn’t mean they want to be. All these babies are on here crying that they can’t go to the circus once a year anymore. Meanwhile those animals spend their entire lives enslaved. There’s nothing magical about turning animals into slaves. If you think their lives are less important than ours, you’re the problem but problem.

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