big apple circus closed

Like Ringling Brothers, The Big Apple Circus Is Closed Down

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus isn’t the only circus that’s closing. The Big Apple Circus has closed down as well, but its fans can still have a piece of the circus. Big Apple Circus, which declared bankruptcy back in November, has set up its assets for auction, reports Pix 11 News.

Circus lovers can bid on the Big Apple Circus’ computers, food stands, tents, tools, and toys, among other supplies. The company’s trademark is also up for sale. Sampler Auctions started listing the assets on Jan. 5 and will close the bidding on Feb. 3, according to the report. However, a strong love and desire for the circus isn’t the only thing that won’t hold you over. You will also need a big wallet as most of the items are said to cost no less than $50,000.

Big Apple Circus just wrapped up its 38th season last year. The company declared bankruptcy following its “Save The Circus” fundraising campaign. The circus was founded and created back in 1977. According to DNAInfo, the goal of the auction is to get a major circus lover to buy all of the Big Apple Circus’ assets in hopes that the show can return in the fall.

big apple circus auction
The Big Apple Circus is placing its assets on auction. [Image by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Hospital for Special Surgery]

“The priority goal is to sell everything, including the intellectual property, with the hopes that someone will have the circus in Lincoln Center this fall, reopened with the same name,” Stampler Auctions president Harry Stampler told DNAInfo.

The Big Apple Circus stood out among the rest since it focused on, as a non-profit organization, bringing the circus arts to the general public. For the past four decades, the company even created programming for blind, deaf, and autistic children, and offered free and discounted tickets to low-income families. But, in 2008, the financial crisis hit the circus hard, executive director Will Maitland Weiss wrote in court documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

In the fiscal year of 2016, the circus’ expenses exceeded its income by $1 million and the circus owed its creditors $3.2 million. The company’s fundraising campaign failed to reach its $2 million goal by July, 2016, so the organization canceled the 2016-2017 season and laid off its artists and production crew. The Big Apple Circus filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, with hopes of “preserving the opportunity to restart the annual ring show with new financial support or through a sale of the circus to an interested buyer,” according to Weiss’ document.

sad circus clown
Clowns everywhere are sad over the news that the Big Apple Circus and Ringling Bros. are closed down. [Image by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images]

All interested buyers must submit their bids by Feb. 3 at 5 p.m. ET, reports Playbill. An additional auction to acquire all of the circus’ assets will be held on Feb. 7 and will also be managed by Stampler Auctions. The Feb. 7 auctions will be held at the New York Offices of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, who are working pro bono as the Big Apple Circus’ legal counsel in the bankruptcy case. Details regarding the auction and sales process, including the bidding procedures and assets lists, can be found at

“We are grateful to our board members, staff, artists, donors, audience members, and community partners who have stood by us and continued to offer their support to save the circus. We hope to see a revived Big Apple Circus back under the Big Top to delight audiences of all ages, abilities, and income levels in the years to come,” Weiss said in an official statement.

The Big Apple Circus isn’t the only circus leaving the business behind. Ringling Bros. will have its final show in May after its long, 146-year run. Declining attendance combined with its high operating costs have contributed to the circus’ closure, according to the Washington Post. Animal rights activists are celebrating the news of two circuses closing its doors in recent months. On the other hand, it’s definitely the end of an era for circus lovers.

What are your thoughts on popular circus shows like the Big Apple Circus and Ringling Bros. shutting its doors? Sound off below in the comments section.

[Featured Image by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images]