- Associated Press - Saturday, January 21, 2017

BARABOO, Wis. (AP) - The executive director of Circus World Museum in Baraboo says Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus has left an imprint on the community.

It has been nearly 150 years since the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus began its live shows in Baraboo, Wisconsin Public Radio (https://bit.ly/2k57pki) reports. And after more than a century of entertainment the company announced it would be ending its show tours in May.

Scott O’Donnell, executive director of Circus World Museum and former employee of the circus company, says he was shocked to hear the news.

“This is a brand, an iconic brand, a legacy brand that’s been around longer than baseball and Coca-Cola,” he said. “I had the great honor of working for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, so it really is kind of like losing a family member in a sense.”

O’Donnell believes the circus industry will live on despite the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus closing.

O’Donnell says the circus museum will ensure that circus shows go on. It will reopen for the season in April.

“I have to believe that as a society we’re always going to want to celebrate the dreamers and we’re always going to want to look toward the circus, as the grandfather of all live entertainment in this country,” O’Donnell said. “It really blazed the way for entities such as ‘The Wiggles’ or ‘Barney’ or ‘Sesame Street Live’ or any of the plethora of platforms that are now part of our social entertainment environment. It’s always been nimble, and it will continue to be nimble.”

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Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, https://www.wpr.org

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