'Greatest Show on Earth's' Philly curtain call

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A circus of people packed the Wells Fargo Center to see the final act of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Thursday night.

Declining ticket sales and increasing company costs closed the curtain on the century-and-half-old American institution.

Young Ashir is coming to terms with that means.

"I think it's a little sad. I'm never going to get to see the circus again!" Ashir said.

Though an estimated 10-million people a year see "The Greatest Show on Earth," attendance wasn't enough to save the jobs of 400 cast and crew, especially after the elephants were retired last year.

"Stupid video games, stupid Pokémon. People would actually rather do that than come see people with real talent do real things. It's pretty sad," Jason Schein of Willow Grove, Pa. said.

But animal activists still protested on South Broad Street as the show was taking place.

"It's not a true victory for the animals unless they're going to legitimate sanctuaries," Mariane Bessey of Animal Activists Philly said.

But for many watching from the audience, this was something they'll never see or hear again.

The circus will be in town for the final time until February 20th.

Their final performance ever is in May and after that the circus will find homes for the animals.
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