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Music, mystery and masterpieces

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PINK SWEETS:International Circus Hall of Fame volunteer Dennis Eckerley handed out cotton candy to grateful children during the recent ReDiscover Downtown Peru’s Second Saturday.
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MUSIC AND TREATS: At Conny’s Little German Bread Shop,Erich Schlieffer played jaunty tunes on the accordion next to local Ethan Kimm.

BY CAROLINE EGGERS - ceggers@perutribune.com

During this past ReDiscover Downtown Peru’s Second Saturday, it was a quiet evening.

But there probably haven’t been that many faces outside in Downtown Peru since the city’s Christmas Open House in December. Following several consecutive days of warm weather, temperatures rapidly decreased on Saturday with bitter winds.

Second Saturdays coordinator Kassi Kotkoski estimated between 100 and 200 people came out downtown by the evening’s end – a far cry from the estimated 1,000-plus crowds that Peru experienced in the summer months last year.

The big draw on Saturday was the “Mystery of the Missing Horse,” a pseudo-scavenger hunt about a a horse farmer who makes a gamble and loses more than he bargained for, according to Kotkoski. 

Local playwright Pat Piper created the original story for the mystery based on Peru’s own history, and recruited downtown business employees, teachers and familiar faces from Ole Olsen Memorial Theater to don the habiliment and personality of famous locals.

Clutching clues, pairs and packs of citizens huddled together as they scurried between the 20 different businesses to listen to stories from famous Peruvians during the interactive “whodunit.”


Leigh Duckwall won first place for her correct conclusion that the horse farmer, Rusty Boots, was the culprit. Jessy Cantu and Makayla Tubd claimed second and third place, respectively. About 20 finished ballots were turned in by the end of the evening.

If you missed the chance to participate, Second Saturdays creator Steve Anderson, who proposed the idea of the mystery, said he hopes to do more in the future.

Over at the Kid’s Korner in City Hall, the craft table was popular.  

Kids selected neon pool noodles, googly eyes, shiny curly bows and fuzzy balls to create adorable little horses.

Some of the kids hopped up and down as they watched the Maconaquah High School volunteers hot glue the items together, and one toddler said, “Yay, I want to go weehaw weehaw.”

Also at City Hall, a caricature artist from T.A.G Art Company drew the kids with both lightning speed and skillful charm, and International Circus Hall of Fame volunteer Dennis Eckerley returned this month with cotton candy, which the kiddos happily gobbled up.

Right outside of City Hall, a sized-down petting zoo took place in the back of a volunteer’s van due to the chilly weather. But the children were still happy to pet the mini goats and bunnies. 

Down the street on Broadway, Miami County Artisan Gallery was relatively sparse for a Second Saturday. However, a musical duo still kept the place lively with a soulful rendition of the song “House of the Rising Son” by The Animals.

Prior to the Second Saturday gathering, MCAG Curator Marlene Compton awarded local artist Patrick Redmon first and second place for his penned drawings of Miami County buildings for the Indiana Architecture art competition. The drawings are still on display at the gallery now.

The gallery stopped offering monthly competitions this year, as Compton hopes to instead attract a larger base of competitors, similar to the Honeywell Center’s art shows – which hosted artists from 92 different counties during its last competition.