On the Front Lines

January 19, 2017 – from Gary Payne, CFA President

The announcement of the forthcoming closing of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey has caught the imagination of the media and produced ironically some positive results for the CFA and Circus Fans and friends everywhere.

We’re seeing quite a bounce in membership inquiries and media requests for interviews as to our reaction to the announcement—all while ticket sales for the Ringling show and others seem to be exploding.

I need all CFA members to stay on message with us, and let’s keep the momentum going!

  1. We’re sad to see the demise of The Greatest Show on Earth, a household name and valued tradition for 146 years, but….
  2. We stand with the cast and crew of the two units as they transition into other career roles, and we thank them for their devotion to the fabulous world of the circus.
  3. We support all other circuses that currently are touring or presenting performances—some two dozen traditional troupes and over 300 youth circus companies or academies around the nation.
  4. We encourage the public to support our efforts to save the circus traditions in America by joining CFA, and most importantly by attending the circus when it comes to their town or city.
  5. We love the circus in all its forms and we continue to honor our mission of advocating for all circus people, animals, and arts.

Check this website regularly for updates!

Gary Payne


January 15, 2017

Statement by Gary Payne, President,
The Circus Fans Association of America (CFA)

To All CFA members and circus friends,

We who love the circus in all its many forms are deeply saddened and distressed at the news that the most famous show of all, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, will cease operation in May. Although to some of us, the closing is not totally surprising given the retirement of its elephants last year, the passing of an iconic institution and brand is cause for mourning by America.

For nearly 150 years, the show survived so much, yet always found a way to seem new and exciting each year. Our hearts go out to the dedicated professionals in the cast and crew who will need our support as they seek to move on. I urge our members to reach out in solidarity to those who ARE the circus.

I also remind Americans that the tradition of circus continues, notably by the many youth circus troupes who represent up and coming traditions of their own, as well as the remaining shows that still travel from town to town bringing family entertainment–including animals!–to children of all ages. These circuses, too, will need our special support as CFA members and friends.

Finally, I urge my fellow citizens to understand that the lies and misinformation peddled by animal extremists, often with no critical questioning by the media, represent a dangerous intervention in our society. Those who would dictate what we choose to experience in entertainment, whose twisted agendas have had disturbing influence on the whole question of real animal welfare and conservation, will remain a severe threat to our freedoms after Ringling has passed into history.

For now, let us thank The Greatest Show on Earth for an amazing run, and may we continue to hold it in our hearts long after the curtain has come down. CFA’s commitment to the wonderful world of the circus goes on. May we do what we can to ensure that the circus will always have a prominent place in our culture and our thinking.


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