PERU – When Jacob Minns was 12 years old, his piano teacher took him to the Peru Circus City Festival for a special excursion to try his hand on a one-of-a-kind steam calliope.
Minns sat down at the miniature keyboard, played a song called “Oh! Dem Golden Slippers” – and was hooked.
“I just took off,” he said. “I had no problem picking up how to play it. It was like it was second nature.”
Three years later, Minns sat behind another antique steam calliope as it rolled down the streets of Peru in the annual Circus City Festival Parade. He was just 15, and the youngest person to ever play the steam instrument in the parade.
And on Saturday, Minns, now 22, once again took his place behind the keyboard on the nearly 100-year-old calliope blasting out jovial circus tunes to the crowds that lined the streets during the longest running and only circus parade left in the country. The festival this year is celebrating its 60th season.