Ringling Brothers Circus took its final bow Sunday night in NY.
Ringling's parent company, Feld Entertainment, announced in January it would close the show, citing declining attendance and high operating costs.
As the performance ended, Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson acknowledged the cheering crowd with a question: "Wait, wait", he said.
Like numerous show's 300 human performers, Vargas said, she plans to take a break before seeking out new opportunities, perhaps in Europe, where many of her castmates hail from.
In 2011, Feld Entertainment Inc., Ringling's parent company, paid a $270,000 civil penalty to the Department of Agriculture to settle a PETA-brought claim of violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act; Feld also agreed to compliance training for its handlers and veterinarians.
A decline in ticket sales increased when the circus removed the elephants in May 2016, following years of protests from animal rights activists who said forcing animals to perform and transporting them around the country was abuse.
He said more than 250 million people had seen Ringling's shows - with the final one livestreamed on the Ringling website - and added: "It's the people, it's the spirit, the dedication, the perseverance of everyone that you'll see here tonight that makes the impossible possible".
Ashley Byrne of Brooklyn was also at the final show Sunday night, but she was standing outside the arena with about 50 other protesters holding a sign that read "Send the animals to sanctuaries!"
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After 146 years of existence, the circus gave its final performance Sunday evening in Uniondale, New York, outside of New York City.
The circus' last show of three scheduled Sunday at the Nassau County Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, is sold out.
Her sister, Dawn Mirowitz, 42, of Dix Hills, New York, sobered as she pondered a future without the Ringling Brothers circus. "But while the show is over for that circus, there are still others that continue these same types of horrific abuse", says PETA Assistant Manager John Di Leonardo.
"We hope that those circuses will take Ringling as an example of what not to do", Byrne said.
One commenter remarked: "i remember seeing the Greatest Show on Earth as a little girl with my family. I'm seeing people I haven't seen in years".
Earlier Sunday, a group of retired and former circus performers sat across the street at a hotel bar, laughing and hugging and sharing memories of tours past.
"Let's go home and show everyone we are forever more the Greatest Show on Earth!"
A second unit of the traveling circus closed this month in Providence, R.I.