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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Peru circus to begin charging performers fees


04 Feb 2012

PERU, Ind. (AP) - Performers at Peru's Amateur Circus won't just need skill this year. They'll need some cold, hard cash if they want to show off their talents.
The Circus City Festival Board says it will begin charging performers a sign-up fee after donations from businesses and benefactors declined.
"It's a situation where we looked around us — there aren't a lot of free, unstructured activities that give the kids everything they get out of (the) circus," producer Mark Hall told the Peru Tribune (http://bit.ly/yR8z6a).
The new fees are $30 per child. Families with more than one child participating will pay $30 for the first child and $20 for each additional child.
"We looked at the minimum we could charge to make a little bit of an impact on our budget," Hall said. "We also looked at youth circus programs throughout the country. Ours is definitely a true bargain. There are places that charge thousands of dollars just to work in a similar program for shorter periods of time. It's a very unique skill set."
Circus City Festival treasurer Kurt Krauskopf said the festival has a 2012 budget of about $260,000. The festival spends more than a fourth of that on insurance and utilities, with other money going toward scholarships, publicity, a parade and the event itself.
"We haven't raised ticket prices in four years and we can only charge so much for certain things," Krauskopf said.
He said organizers decided to implement the performer fees after reviewing the budget and realizing they wouldn't have enough money to cover their expenses.
"This was not a decision taken lightly by the board," he said.
The board expects the fees to generate about $6,000. The $30 fee doesn't guarantee that a child will be chosen for the show; participants still have to pay for equipment such as boots, tumbling leotards and wrist tapes.
The Circus City Festival dates from 1960 and draws on the area's rich circus history. Many of the country's top circuses wintered in Miami County in the late 1800s, and the area is home to the International Circus Hall of Fame, according to the festival's website.
The circus is held each July. About 250 people ages 7 to 21, along with a team of clowns, join forces to present performances over eight days. This year's circus is scheduled for July 14 to July 21.

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