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What happens between now and Ringling's closure in May?

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/15/2017 By TAMARA LUSH, Associated Press
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performers are seen during a show Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end the "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press, declining attendance combined with high operating costs are among the reasons for closing. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) © The Associated Press Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performers are seen during a show Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end the "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press, declining attendance combined with high operating costs are among the reasons for closing. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

ELLENTON, Fla. (AP) — The owners of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced Saturday that they will close the 146-year-old show in May.

A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey high wire act performs during a show Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end the "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press, declining attendance combined with high operating costs are among the reasons for closing. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) © The Associated Press A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey high wire act performs during a show Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end the "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press, declining attendance combined with high operating costs are among the reasons for closing. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, said declining attendance combined with high operating costs are the reasons for closing.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performers begin a show Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end the "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press, declining attendance combined with high operating costs are among the reasons for closing. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) © The Associated Press Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey performers begin a show Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end the "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press, declining attendance combined with high operating costs are among the reasons for closing. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Here's where things stand with the iconic show:

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Ringmaster, Kristen Michelle Wilson, performs Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end the "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press, declining attendance combined with high operating costs are among the reasons for closing. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) © The Associated Press The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Ringmaster, Kristen Michelle Wilson, performs Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end the "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press, declining attendance combined with high operating costs are among the reasons for closing. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

WHEN IS THE CIRCUS' FINAL SHOW?

A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown juggles for fans during a pre show for fans Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end the "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press, declining attendance combined with high operating costs are among the reasons for closing. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) © The Associated Press A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown juggles for fans during a pre show for fans Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end the "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press, declining attendance combined with high operating costs are among the reasons for closing. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses this season: "Circus Extreme" and "Out of This World." The final show for "Circus Extreme" will be in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 7, and the other will close after a performance in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau County Coliseum on May 21.

FILE - In the 1882 file image at an unknown location, American showman P.T. Barnum is shown. In his lifetime, Barnum was an entrepreneur, museum owner, politician, journalist, impressario and creator of his circus "The Greatest Show on Earth" in 1871. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May 2017, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press when the company removed the elephants from the shows in May of 2016, ticket sales declined more dramatically than expected. (AP Photo, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In the 1882 file image at an unknown location, American showman P.T. Barnum is shown. In his lifetime, Barnum was an entrepreneur, museum owner, politician, journalist, impressario and creator of his circus "The Greatest Show on Earth" in 1871. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May 2017, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press when the company removed the elephants from the shows in May of 2016, ticket sales declined more dramatically than expected. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE - In this May 13, 2009 file photo, Firefighter Eforrest Allmond houses down Asian Elephants from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus in Philadelphia. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press when the company removed the elephants from the shows in May of 2016, ticket sales declined more dramatically than expected. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this May 13, 2009 file photo, Firefighter Eforrest Allmond houses down Asian Elephants from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus in Philadelphia. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will end "The Greatest Show on Earth" in May, following a 146-year run of performances. Kenneth Feld, the chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, which owns the circus, told The Associated Press when the company removed the elephants from the shows in May of 2016, ticket sales declined more dramatically than expected. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN NOW AND MAY?

The two touring circuses will perform a total of 30 shows over the next four months. Most of the shows will be held in the South or the East Coast. Major stops include Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston and Brooklyn. Tickets can still be purchased online and at venues.

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WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE EMPLOYEES?

The Feld family has owned the circus for 49 years, and employs some 500 people for the show. Those employees were told about the closure on Saturday night, after shows in Orlando and Miami. A handful will be placed in positions with the company's other shows — it owns Monster Jam, Disney on Ice and Marvel Live, among other things — but most will be out of a job. Chief Operating Officer Juliette Feld said the company will help employees with job placement and resumes. In some cases where a circus employee lives on the tour rail car (the circus travels by train), the company will also help with housing relocation.

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WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE ANIMALS?

In May of 2016, Ringling retired all of its elephants to a property in central Florida. Forty elephants live at the Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk County. But the circus still has other animals, such as lions, tigers, camels, donkeys, alpacas, kangaroos and llamas.

Juliette Feld says homes will be found for the animals, but the company will continue operating the Center for Elephant Conservation.

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WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE COSTUMES AND PROPS?

The Feld family hasn't decided what it will do with the enormous warehouse filled with circus costumes and props. Kenneth Feld says the company will continue to work with the Circus Museum at The Ringling in Sarasota. That museum holds memorabilia dating to the 1800s, when John Ringling and his family founded Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

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