PERU – For the first time ever, there won’t be a circus in the self-proclaimed Circus Capital of the World.

The Peru Amateur Circus late Wednesday made the decision to call off performances this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, marking the first time the youth circus has been canceled in its 61-year history.

The performances were scheduled this year to run from July 11-18, featuring 7- to 21-year-old kids from Miami County who put on all the classic acts such as the high-wire, trapeze and juggling. The shows are part of the week-long celebration in Peru called the Circus City Festival, which culminates every year with the largest circus parade in the country.

Circus Board President Mandy Maverick said they made the painful decision to cancel after learning the earliest they could begin practicing for the show would potentially be May 24, giving the around 200 performers less than seven weeks to practice. During normal years, kids practice for four months starting in March.