Last stop for the circus elephants in Everett

EVERETT — Ringling Bros. and Barnum &Bailey Circus’s “Built to Amaze!” traveling show is at Xfinity Arena for seven shows this week.

The show features Asia and April, two of the circus’ iconic Asian elephants. This week will be the last chance anyone in the Pacific Northwest will get a chance to see the elephants before they are retired.

Everett is the final stop on the circus’ tour, and no shows are booked for next year.

“We don’t have any tours currently scheduled to return to the Pacific Northwest,” said Stephen Payne, the vice president of communications for Palmetto, Florida-based Feld Entertainment Inc., which owns Ringling Bros.

“This might be the last time for a while,” Payne said.

The touring company in Everett, referred to internally as the “gold” unit, is smaller than the other “red” and “blue” units, and travels by truck instead of by train.

The gold unit, which has about 100 performers and crew, has been on the road for 42 weeks this year, Payne said.

After this tour, it will be folded into the other units and the elephants will retire to the circus’ 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida.

That’s in line with the company’s announcement in March that it would stop all elephant performances by 2018.

Feld Entertainment owns 43 elephants total, 29 of which have been touring animals.

The company has been criticized, protested and sued over its alleged treatment of the animals, and an increasing number of jurisdictions have enacted ordinances that prohibit the use of wild animals in entertainment acts. In Washington state, the cities of Redmond and Port Townsend prohibit the display of wild animals in any public or private venue.

The circus has been a mainstay of Xfinity Arena since it opened, and has usually been a well-attended event, said Rick Comeau, general manager. The circus, which opened Thursday, has seven shows scheduled through Sunday.

Xfinity Arena, owned by the Everett Public Facilities District, has come close to breaking even on an operating basis, but it is dependent on the city to pay its debts.

Comeau said the loss of the circus isn’t likely to be a huge hit, and he expects there will be other shows to keep the arena busy next year.

“We work with Feld with a number of events and have several dates on hold,” he said.

Other Feld Entertainment shows already booked are “Disney on Ice: Frozen” in November and “Disney Live” in February 2016. Other events include EnduroCross and a concert with rock headliners Shinedown in October. The Silvertips season opener is Oct. 10.

Payne said the larger train-based touring circuses usually book their shows two years in advance. “As far as 2017, it’s too early to tell,” he said.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum &Bailey Circus

The circus is performing its final shows in Everett this weekend. Shows are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m., 3:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and at 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday. Ticket prices range from $22-$72, plus fees when buying them online or on the phone. For more information, call 866.332.8499 or go to

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Car crashes into Everett apartment, displacing residents

No one was injured in the crash late Friday, according to Everett police.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Most Read