The featured acts include about 30 performers from the Peru Amateur Youth Circus in Peru, off U.S. 24 at U.S. 31 in north-central Indiana.
“It almost doubles the size of our show,” said Larry Solheim, general manager of circus company TZ Productions. Performances will take place Thursday through Sunday at Memorial Coliseum.
The Peru youth circus acts include a human pyramid that seven young women perform on the high wire.
“It's very unique,” Solheim said.
Youth circus members also will perform on unicycles and in other acts, he said.
“We are trying to draw attention to a great thing there in Peru,” he said of the youth circus.
Lions and tigers are crowd favorites at Mizpah Shrine Circus shows.
About 250 young people ages 7-21, along with a group of adult, junior and kiddie clowns, present 10 circus performances each July during the Circus City Festival in Peru, it said on the festival website, www.perucircus.com. The youth acts also go on the road during the summer to perform in Indiana and elsewhere.
The program, which was founded in 1960, strives to help youths in the Peru area develop confidence, responsibility, self-esteem, teamwork and lasting friendships, the website said. The youth program and festival also preserve Peru's rich past as a winter home for major circuses.
Performing at this week's Shrine Circus gives the young people experience working in a professional show, and possibly the inspiration to pursue a circus career, Solheim said.
“Maybe in the future we can work with them every year,” he added.
Solheim promises the rest of the circus show will be even more exciting than past years.
“We have more animals and more things in the air than we've ever had in Fort Wayne,” he said.
Along with lions, tigers, horses and elephants, animal acts will include dogs, alligators and snakes, Solheim said.
Flying-trapeze artists also will share air space with the Black Angels African acrobatic troupe, Ringmaster Joseph Bauer performing in the Giant Space Wheel, and motorcycle riders who race up wires and around near the ceiling, Solheim said.