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Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is a United States traveling circus company billed as The Greatest Show on Earth.

In 1875 P. T. Barnum to lent his name and financial backing to a circus in Delavan, Wisconsin. It became "P.T. Barnum's Great Traveling Museum, Menagerie, Caravan, and Hippodrome." The nickname "Greatest Show on Earth" was added later.

In 1919, The circus merged with merged with the Ringling Bros. World's Greatest Shows and became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows. 

In 1956, at the Heidelberg Race Track in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the circus ended its season early, with President John Ringling North announcing that it would no longer exhibit under their own portable tents (see, Big Top) and starting in 1957 would exhibit in permanent venues, such as sports stadiums and arenas that had the seating already in place.

In 1967, Irvin Feld and his brother Israel, along with Houston Judge Roy Hofheinz bought the circus from the Ringling family.

In 1971, the Felds and Hofheinz sold the circus to Mattel, buying it back from the toy company in 1982. Since the death of Irvin Feld in 1984, the circus has been a part of Feld Entertainment, an international entertainment firm headed by Kenneth Feld, with its headquarters in Ellenton, Florida.

Citing declining attendance and high operating costs, Feld Entertainment announced the circus would close in May 2017 after 146 years.

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