PERU, Ind. -- Roughly 73 miles from the Circle City is the Circus City – and the inspiration for this year’s theme for the Indiana State Fair.
Life under the big top in Peru, Indiana, began in the late 1800s, when prominent Peru businessman Ben Wallace was known for having the best horse stock in the state.
“He got the bug about the circus, so he ended up buying some piecemeal stuff out of Chicago to sell and they started a little circus,” said Tim Bessignano, caretaker of the International Circus Hall of Fame in Peru.
Decades of circus memorabilia are now housed at the museum, thanks to the efforts of fans who pooled their time and money to collect the materials. The effort began in 1958. Ten years later, the facility was built, and the city’s amateur circus began.
Hannah Yoo is just one of the dozens of young performers returning summer and summer to keep the tradition alive. Many of these twirlers, tumblers and tightrope walkers come from a long line of jugglers, unicyclists and clowns.
“It’s my first year, but I juggle, unicycle, I do four lane,” Yoo said. “My mom used to do the flying trapeze.”
This year’s amateur circus has already ended, but you can catch it next year from July 13-20. You can also catch performances daily during the Indiana State Fair.