One of my most treasured experiences was going to the circus as a child. And when I mean circus. I mean THE Circus. The Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus. And they're coming back in 2023, minus the elephants, tigers, and animal acts.

I remember going as a small child and seeing Gunther Gebel-Williams and his tigers and elephants. The trapeze acts. The clowns. The guys on the motorcycles zipping around that steel cage sphere. All from the dirty upper deck of the Old Chicago Amphitheater. It was magic.

We went several times throughout my childhood. And I may have even gone once with my Mom and Grandmother as a teenager. The circus was showbiz. Magic and wonder. And when Feld Entertainment finally decided it was time to end The Greatest Show on Earth after battling animal activists for decades about the animals in their show. I couldn't help but be a little bit sad.

It seems Feld Entertainment took some in the arena and venue business by surprise when they divulged the entertainment company is casting for a 2023 relaunch of the  Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, this time without animals.

Venues Now reported that Feld Entertainment Chairman and CEO Kenneth Feld and Juliette Feld Grossman, the family entertainment giant’s chief operating officer mentioned it during a session at the Venues Now Conference in Seattle.

In my mind, when you say Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, a certain expectation comes to mind. Three rings. Clowns. High Wire Acts. Animal Acts. A Ringmaster.  And those goofy blue and red flashlights that our parents bought us.

The question is can they pull off the familiarity and expectations that come with the name? And still, put behinds in the seats? Are the clowns, trapeze acts, a man being shot out of a cannon, essentially stupid human tricks, enough to get people to the circus without a parade of elephants, tigers, and bears?

I don't know, but there's no reason to think The Greatest Show on Earth can't make a comeback tapping into the nostalgia of the circus without the animals. In fact, I think I'll get a couple of tickets. One for me, and one for my Mom. I might even buy myself one of those blue flashlights with the mirrors if they bring those back.

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