Ringling, audiences bid emotional farewell to performing elephants

May 2, 2016 12:21 AM

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Ringling, audiences bid emotional farewell to performing elephants

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — When the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus' performers spin, twirl, jump and sparkle in the colored spotlights, David Orr, 77, turns his attention elsewhere — to the mesmerized children who pack the stands, many waiting to see an elephant for the first time.

Orr was once one of those children. He experienced his first Ringling circus in 1946 in Columbus, Ohio, where he picked up a habit he couldn't kick. In 70 years, he's missed just two seasons. "It's the way I kept sane," he said. "I would run away to the circus for a few days."

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