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Ringling Bros.'s Raleigh stop to be among its last

Posted January 15

— Raleigh's PNC Arena is among the final stops for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Feld Entertainment announced this weekend that the 146-year-old show would be closing forever in May, a decision forced by declining attendance, higher operating costs, changes in public tastes and battles with animal rights groups, according to an Associated Press story.

Producers removed elephants from the show in May 2016. The final elephant walk, which drew crowds as people watched the animals unload from the circus train, was in 2013 in Raleigh.

"There isn't any one thing," said Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment said in the story. "This has been a very difficult decision for me and for the entire family."

Others praised the move. According to the AP story, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said the decision was "bittersweet" for the Felds but said: "I applaud their decision to move away from an institution grounded on inherently inhumane wild animal acts."

Ringling Bros. will perform 30 shows between now and May, according to the story. That includes seven performances at the PNC Arena from Feb. 9 to Feb. 12. This year, the show, called "Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Out of This World," is billed as an "all-new immersive experience" with acrobatic performances on ice and a storyline that involves a cosmic voyage.

“By adding the element of ice, we’re bringing speed and motion to an already thrilling, multisensory performance,” said Alana Feld, executive vice president of Feld Entertainment and producer of Out Of This World, in a press release about the show. “Throughout the show, families won’t know where the floor ends and the ice begins."

Tickets start at $11 for the PNC Arena show and are on sale now.

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  • Brenda Love Jan 16, 2017
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    Good. I'm glad we are moving beyond having captive animals as entertainment for humans. When I was a kid, I witnessed one of the bears "getting out of line" over on the sidelines and his trainer boxed him a few hard punches to the face. He behaved after that, but my attitude about the circus was forever changed.