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Performers hugging

Ringmaster Kristen Michelle Wilson, right, hugs a member of the crew after the red unit’s final performance, Sunday, May 7, 2017, in Providence, R.I. For the performers who travel with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, its demise means the end of a unique way of life for hundreds of performers and crew members. (Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP)

Leaving the life: The final days of the Ringling Bros. circus

An elephant stretches its trunk through a window to soothe a sick child. A woman gives birth and three months later is back performing on the high wire. A handler of big cats weeps as the beasts lope out of the ring for the last time.

These stories could come only from circus performers, and in particular one famous circus, the one immortalized as “The Greatest Show on Earth”: the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which is hanging its hat for the last time this weekend.

One of Ringling’s two traveling circuses is scheduled to perform its final show Sunday in New York. The other closed this month in Providence, and with it, the end to a way of life few others have experienced. (AP)

Related: The final days of the Ringling Bros. circus

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