The greatest numbers on Earth

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey elephants made their annual stop at Lexington Market for the "Lunch With the Elephants."
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey elephants made their annual stop at Lexington Market for the "Lunch With the Elephants." (Baltimore Sun)

105 years of shows.

90,000 pounds of elephants.


And a bunch of shoes, size 28EEEEE. For the clowns, of course.

When it comes to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, an entertainment extravaganza that routinely, without being challenged, bills itself as "The Greatest Show on Earth," the numbers alone tell quite a story.


There is, for example, 118. That's the number of performers involved in putting on "Fully Charged," the circus show that will be playing at Baltimore's 1st Mariner Arena through April 1. They include 25-year-old ringmaster Brian Crawford Scott, among the youngest in the circus' century-plus history; 2 juggling Fusco Brothers, Emiliano and Maximiliano, whose act includes juggling flaming clubs in the dark while standing back-to-back; and 1 Sean Davis, a clown with a degree (really!) in criminal justice.

There's also 56. That's the number of animals in the show — including the above-mentioned 45 tons of elephants, plus 18 Bengal tigers and 4 Norwegian fjord horses.

But most pertinent, perhaps, is the number 17. That's how many performances are left before Ringling Bros. packs its tent, parades onto the circus train and heads out of Baltimore for the next stop on its 78-city tour.

Still not convinced? Here are just a few more numbers that the Ringling Bros.' "Fully Charged" calls its own:

340: Total cast and crew responsible for putting on this edition of "The Greatest Show on Earth."

270: Number of those who live and travel on the circus train.

130: Number of feet traveled by Brian Miser, the Human Fuse, after being launched from a "super-sized human crossbow."

35: Feet above the ground, the height at which aerialists Dima and Nadja perform their "divine ballet."

149: Years of acrobatic experience amassed by the nine-member Negrey Troupe, from Russia and Ukraine.

9: Members of the show's live band.

17: Countries represented among the cast.

11: Languages spoken backstage (Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, English, Hungarian, Kazakh, Moroccan, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian).


16: Hours it takes to set up the show in each city.

8: Hours it takes to tear it down and load the circus train when it's all over.

9 Elephants (Asia, Assan, Baby, Banko, Luna, Sarah, Siam II, Toy and Tonkaw).

24 Horses

1,000: Pounds of popcorn consumed by circus-goers in each city.

4,000: Pounds of ice used to make snow cones in each city.

750: Pounds of sugar used to spin cotton candy in each city.

59: Number of cars in the circus train (which stretches out to over a mile).

350: Average miles the circus train travels between cities (although not this time, since the circus comes to Baltimore from Washington, a mere 40 miles away).

16,000: Miles the circus train travels per year.

78: Cities "Fully Charged" will visit during its two-year tour.

550: Costumes used in the production (including 100 hats and some 1,000 pairs of shoes).

175: Pages in the show's musical score.

180: Different pieces of music used in the show.

300: Different sound effects used in the show.

100,000: Pounds of electrical equipment used, including 100 electric chain hoists.

150: Moving lights used to illuminate the show and follow the action.

1: Number of times the locally hired spotlight operators practice before opening night.

8: Confetti cannons showering some 2,000 pounds of confetti a year on the audience.

8,000: Feet of microphone cable used to carry the show's sound throughout the arena.

5,000: Feet of power cable used, with a capacity of some 150,000 watts of power.

11,850: Pounds (more than 5.5 tons) of speakers suspended from the ceiling.

If you go

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's "Fully Charged" runs through April 1 at 1st Mariner Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St. Shows are set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. Friday and March 29, 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturdays, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $14-$80. Information: 410-347-2020 or 1stmarinerarena.com

Recommended on Baltimore Sun