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Founded in 1848 and the county seat for Miami County, Peru draws heavily on its history as "The Circus Capital of the World." Beginning in 1892, the Wallace Circus Farm on State Road 124 just outside Peru, once covering 3,000 acres, was the winter quarters for a number of renowned troupes.

The Big Top Circus and Circus Hall of Fame draw visitors for daily shows from June through Labor Day, and for tours of the museum, packed with more than 200 years of circus memorabilia.

The Circus City Center, a permanent three-ring building in the heart of Peru, also features a circus museum and each July hosts the Circus City Festival, The eight-day festival includes 10 performances by the Amateur Youth Circus, which includes some 250 people ages 7 to 21 performing circus acts, playing in the 50-piece circus band and clowning for audiences.

Peru Riverwalk along the Wabash River and MiamisFort playground and park, created with community donations and volunteers, are the city's newest outdoor-recreation spots. Nearby, the Mississinewa Reservoir and Mississinewa Lake offer a combined 17,500 acres of swimming beach, picnic area, fishing and hunting, boating, camping and hiking. Four area golf courses include Rock Hollow Golf Club, rated one of the top 10 in Indiana.

Although Peru has felt loss from the closing of Grissom Air Force Base, seven miles south of the town, "our economic health is on the upswing," says Keith Chandler, executive director of the Peru/Miami County Chamber of Commerce. His optimism is fueled by the four-lane Hoosier Heartland highway now going in between Fort Wayne and Lafayette and passing through Miami County.

The improved transportation bodes well for industrial growth, says Gary Nielander, executive director of the Peru/Miami County Economic Development Corp.

Meanwhile, Peru boasts a diverse manufacturing base in its dozen industries. The largest, Square D Co., employs about 650 making electric panel boxes. Two industries each employ about 300: American Stationery, which prints personalized stationery and catalogs; and BTR Antivibration Systems, which makes antivibration products for automobiles.

Other large employers include Bryan Steam, which makes gas-fired boilers; Classico Seating, which produces metal furniture; Lear Corp., a plastic automotive electrical control manufacturer; W.C. Redmon Co., which makes bath accessories and infant products; and Woodcrest Manufacturing, which produces wooden bedroom furniture.
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Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2000
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