By Matt Hutton, Peru Tribune
The Circus City Festival’s Circus Heritage Parade marks its 52nd straight year this Saturday ��“ the longest consecutive circus parade in the United States.
The parade will begin 10 a.m. with lineup beginning 8 a.m. Parade Vice President Greg Mullett said they would like all 110 parade entrants in position by 9 a.m. It should last for about two hours and travels from Main Street to Broadway and finishes at Canal Street. Any convertible owner that would like to drive a dignitary in the parade should call the circus office, 765-472-3918. As of earlier this week they were searching for at least two more convertibles.
This year’s grand marshal is not one person, but a selection of past performers who went on to professional circus careers. While Mullett said they are still finalizing the exact number of marshals, the following have confirmed they will be at the parade Saturday: Tina Ross Miser, Eric Craft, Kerri Gillespie, Jen Savage, Jamie Fry-Emelio and Melanie Slonaker.
There will also be horse drawn wagons, animals such as tigers, bears and alpacas in cages, as well as elephants bringing up the rear.
“If you’re a circus fan, you’re going to see original and replica wagons,” Mullett said, adding there were 26 wagons in all.
There will also be plenty of music, from the Peru and Maconaquah high school bands, to the Circus City Festival Band to the Indianapolis 500 Gordon Pipers to the traditional circus calliopes.
While Mullett said the number of entrants is steady compared to past years, the number of spectators continues to grow.
“The crowd used to thin at Broadway, now you make the turn and it feels like its growing,” he said.
A key factor for this weekend’s parade will obviously be the weather. Temperatures at parade time are expected to already be in the mid-80s, with a chance for scattered thunderstorms.
“We know it’s going to be hot, we’re still hoping people come out,” Mullett said. “Bring lots of water, a shade umbrella and come join us.”
Mullett said he wanted to acknowledge his co-vice president Christina Cawood and Tim Bessignano, who helps with the animals and horses, as well as the parade sponsors.
“Without their help, it would be very hard for us to put on such a nice parade,” he said, adding there are 30 to 40 volunteers who assist with crowd control. “We’d be in a world of trouble, we could not put of the parade without the volunteers.”