Town of McGregor reacts to end of Ringling Bros. Circus - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Town of McGregor reacts to end of Ringling Bros. Circus

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After nearly 150 years, 'The Greatest Show On Earth' is coming to an end.

"It's the end of a great era. Live entertainment is so exciting, times have changed," said Diane Malcom of the McGregor Historical Museum. 

The world renowned Ringling Brothers Circus, which got its start here in eastern Iowa, will soon be no more. "Well this is part of the McGregor story really," she added.

An American rags to riches story.

Those who live in McGregor are proud of the history. The town even recently celebrated John Ringling's 150th birthday.

"We have this family with very hard working meager income that works very, very hard, day in, day out...a large family," said Malcom who has researched the family. 

After the brothers won tickets to a circus act, they had the vision to start their own circus. It started small, with just a few trained animals.

Eventually, the show grew into one of the largest in the business.

But with that attention, came scrutiny from animal right activists, and that led the show to ending the use of elephants.

The CEO says that decision ultimately resulted to a dramatic drop in ticket sales. He also says the costs to operate the circus are really high, which made it unsustainable.

The final Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performances will be held in May of this year. 

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