Cash-strapped Big Apple Circus folds after fundraising efforts fall short of goal

The Big Apple Circus will have to close down because it could not reach its fundraising goal.
Photo courtesy of Big Apple Circus

The show will not go on.

After falling short of its $2 million fundraising goal, the Big Apple Circus, which recently performed at Cunningham Park in Queens, will fold its tent for the final time and will not be able to perform at Lincoln Center this holiday season, an annual tradition since 1981.

According to The New York Times, on Tuesday, July 26, the nonprofit circus announced that it was only able to reach $900,000 in funds during its emergency fundraising campaign.

To help reach their $2 million goal, the circus created an online donation campaign on Indiegogo, where the public can donate. In all, the online campaign raised over $137,000 in about a month’s time, with donations ranging from $5 to $2,500. However, there was no massive donation that came to save the beloved circus from folding.

Many people are not aware that the Big Apple Circus, unlike some of its large competitors, is a nonprofit organization, so many visitors never thought to donate anything beyond the price of admission.

The Big Apple Circus rented part of Cunningham Park for several weeks and became a popular local destination for families and school trips, bringing in thousands of spectators each year.

The Big Apple Circus had a new theme each year. The 2016 program called “The Grand Tour” was inspired by the Roaring ’20s and featured a live band, trapeze artists and aerialists, magicians, jugglers, clowns as well as animal acts featuring horses, camels and dogs.

Although the one-ring tent may be coming down, Big Apple Circus will be using the $900,000 it received to continue its programs of sending performers to hospitals and nursing homes to boost the spirits of sick children and the elderly.