Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus final performance tonight

The clowns are having their last laughs at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Once known as the Greatest Show on Earth, a steep drop in ticket sales is forcing the circus off the road.

"Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth." It's one of the last times the ringmaster will speak those words. After 146 years on the road, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is folding its tent.

The circus' final performance will be in Uniondale, New York on Sunday, but you can watch it LIVE on Facebook and YouTube.

"There's a feeling of adoration, pride, in the fact that I've been a part of an American institution. I'm gonna be the last word on it too," said Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson.

Iverson has been the Ringmaster of the circus for 18 years. Now, unable to fill its seats, the show is taking a final bow.

Audiences have mixed emotions about the circus ending. Some are ok with it ending, "because I'm an animal lover."

Others are feeling the loss. "I feel sad. I really like the circus. It's fun"

The show has changed over time. Allegations of animal cruelty have haunted the circus for years, and after those famed elephants were removed last year, the circus' already declining ticket sales tanked.

The performers will move on to others jobs and the 74 animals will be relocated to new homes.

"We love our animals. we care about them. We want them to be happy, healthy," said Horse Performer Tatiana Tchalabaev.

 

This high-flying family has only a few more hours to clown around before the big top comes down for good.