Florida Matters: Saying Goodbye To 'The Greatest Show On Earth'

Florida Matters: Saying Goodbye To 'The Greatest Show On Earth'
Florida Matters: Saying Goodbye To 'The Greatest Show On Earth'

After 146 years as the "Greatest Show on Earth," the owners of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus have decided to take the tent down.

This week on Florida Matters we’re exploring the history of the circus, its local ties and the economics of the decision to close.

Florida Matters’ Stephanie Colombini talks with performers, fans and animal rights activists who were in Tampa for Ringling’s last shows in the Sunshine State.

The circus has a colorful past full of performers who worked under the big top. Many of them call Gibsonton home in Hillsborough County. Florida Matters’ Quincy Walters visits their community along U.S. 41.

The show also features a discussion with our guests:
Janelle Irwin, Reporter with the Tampa Bay Business Journal

Rodney Kite-Powell, Director of the Touchton Map Library and the Saunders Foundation Curator of History at the Tampa Bay History Center

What will you miss most about the circus? Or are you pleased to see it go? Share your thoughts and memories with us on our Facebook page.

For more on the history of the circus click here. For local circus attractions, check out the Ringling Circus Museum and Circus Arts Conservatory in Sarasota, or the International Independent Showmen's Museum in Gibsonton.

For more on the history of the circus click here. For local circus attractions, check out the Ringling Circus Museum and Circus Arts Conservatory in Sarasota, or the International Independent Showmen's Museum in Gibsonton.

Original Broadcast Date: 

Tuesday at 6:30 PM | Sunday at 7:30 AM on WUSF 89.7
Monday at 10:00 PM on WSMR 89.1

Robin Sussingham

Robin Trohn Sussingham is a reporter and program host at WUSF Public Broadcasting, and is the producer of Florida Matters. She came to WUSF from public radio stations KUER and KCPW in Utah, has contributed stories to NPR and Marketplace, and also has an extensive background in print reporting. She was born in Lakeland and often reports about Polk County.

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