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Thunderous applause, tears as the ‘greatest show on Earth’ takes a final bow

May 22, 2017 12:05 AM
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UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus took a final, bittersweet bow on Sunday, staging its last three shows here after 146 years of entertaining American audiences with gravity-defying trapeze stunts, comically clumsy clowns and tamed tigers.

“Farewell, from the greatest show on Earth!” ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson, an 18-year veteran of the show and the first African American to hold the job, told a packed midday audience, offering one of the few signs that the circus was coming to a close. Yet many spectators said they came precise...

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