Today was a bittersweet day. I went to the Ringling Bros. circus with my family, as I do every year. But this year was different. After 146 years, Ringling Bros. announced this will be the final circus tour ever.
I couldn’t help but get emotional in this moment. I’ve been going to the circus since I was a little girl. Yes, it’s cheesy, and yes, there is a lot of kids in the audience. But tradition is tradition. And who doesn’t love nachos in the middle of the day, or some rainbow ice in an elephant-shaped cup?
Circling back to the circus
We’ve seen some pretty great acts. From lions to tigers (no bears, oh my), motorcyclists to musicians, elephants to aerial acts, dancing poodles to clown canoodles.
I could still smell the freshly buttered popcorn in the arena today. Kids were laughing, standing up and dancing on their seats. One family walked through the arena saying, “C’mon. Let’s hold hands like a family.” I teared up, but I still laughed with my dad and stepmom by my side. We took a few goofy photos and then enjoyed the show.
We gasped at balancing acts. Men walking on tight ropes, 40 feet in the air! We sat on the edge of our seats when motocross riders rode through flames in a tiny performance ball. We aww’d and we smiled when the elephants laid on their sides, stood up together, and then walked around the ring holding on to each other’s tails.
Before there were concert meet and greets that will cost you hundreds of dollars, there was the circus, where you could walk down to the stage and meet the crew. They’d take the time to talk to you, tell you their story, and make you feel welcomed. You could dress up like a clown, meet a clown, and feel like you were famous for a day.
Ringling in the new year
Kristen Michelle Wilson, the first female ringmaster and previous Treasure Tavern entertainer, has made history, even though history itself may be ending. We met her after the show, as we have seen her perform at Treasure Tavern on many occasions.
We’re happy for Kristen, and we know this will be a great platform for her to perform this year.
It’s a sad day in the circus world. But let’s remember the good moments and the positive vibes it brought to us. Here’s to all the fond memories. I wish the very best for the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus family.