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TBM Avengers event will stay in Peru

Council says it will put forth the money to keep the event

After a one-year hiatus because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Peru City Council affirmed Monday it has every intention of keeping the TBM Avenger event in Peru.

Cary Miller, TBM committee chairman, told the City Council organizers would need to know by the end of October whether the council would support the spring event that takes months worth of planning.

Seven of eight council members — all who were present at Monday's meeting — agreed by consensus that if the item were put on next month's agenda, they would give their approval.

The council initially left the roughly $100,000 cost out of its budget, but Mayor Scott Harl explained after the meeting that action was more because of the uncertainty of COVID-19 restrictions and the impact it may have on the future budget than any feelings the council has toward the event.

The council agreed the financial support wasn't an issue. Following state guidelines for an event that draws thousands of visitors was the challenge, they said.

Harl said the event centered around the World War II planes and also serves as a salute to veterans fills hotels, restaurants and puts Peru "on the map."

"We were featured in a magazine in Japan," Harl said. "That gives our city recognition."

Miller explained to the council the event has grown in the past five years and it may be one of the last opportunities to honor aging World War II veterans.

"You can't put a monetary value on it," Miller said of the event. "It has so much more value."

Miller said other communities, including Terre Haute, Ind., showed interest in taking over as hosts of the event. When the event was initially postponed in May, organizers tried to relocate it to Terre Haute in July, but they were unable to get it off the ground because of a loss of sponsorship funding.

This year would have been the fifth time Peru hosted. Miller emphasized organizers wanted to keep the event in the city, because so many volunteers have put work into making it a success.

"There's no better way to start the summer of 2021," said Alderman Aaron Buffo. "I'd like to put the summer of 2020 behind us."

The City Council will vote at its next meeting to reallocate the funds in its budget and make the move official.

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