Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer
Monday, 13 August 2012 10:10
Hundreds of jugglers will descend upon Bowling Green about a year from now, entertaining street crowds, parading through the city and performing at Bowling Green State University's Kobacker Hall.
|File photo. Jugglers practice at BGSU last year. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The International Jugglers' Association has selected BGSU as the site for its 66th annual festival, slated for July 15-21.
"This should turn into a whole town party, not just a campus event," said Kim Laird, festival director.
"This is a week's worth of entertainment for the town," she said.
The event, anticipated to draw about 600 people to Bowling Green, will bring together juggling professionals and hobbyists from all over the world, including Europe, South America, Australia and other continents.
Organizers have numerous shows, workshops and community outreach events planned.
A youth showcase and junior championships event will highlight, "The best young jugglers this area has ever seen," Laird said.
Other events include: Numbers Championships, Joggling Championships, extreme juggling, and Games of the IJA.
The Joggling competition calls upon participants to juggle and jog at the same time on the BGSU track.
"We usually have at least one world record set each year," Laird said.
In extreme juggling, participants "have 20 seconds to perform a stunt of their choosing."
"It is basically what is the most extreme, out there thing they can do," Laird said.
Among the jugglers' "toys" are umbrellas, flaming equipment, kettle bells and hatchets.
Another event, called "Planting the Juggling Seed" calls on community members to learn juggling and they are linked with an Association member.
"Let's plant the seed in people's mind that they can do this," Laird said.
The lessons are free.
"Club Renegade," a late juggling/entertainment night show planned at the Cla-Zel, was described by organizers as "Rated R" and appropriate for the 18 and over audience.
The jugglers also plan to put on a benefit show while they are here, but are working out the logistics.
Community events, like a street juggling performance and a juggling parade are also planned, said Wendy Stram, director of the Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The parade is planned for July 19 down Court Street.
Following the parade, about six to eight street performers will gather crowds and juggle downtown. It will be a competition with the winner selected by the performer who ends up with the most money in his or her hat at the end.
"We want the community to embrace the jugglers and for them to enjoy their time here. We want this to be a repeat event here," Stram said.
With jugglers in town, Laird said there is something residents should be aware of:
"Don't panic if you see us walking down the sidewalk juggling.
"We won't hurt anybody. Our group is very respectful."
Laird said residents should feel welcomed at all of their showcases and performances. Some require a fee to enter.
"We really want the community to come out, join us and learn from us," Laird said.
The shows will take place in Perry Field House, Kobacker Hall, the track and the Cla-Zel.
Visitors will stay in residence halls, motel rooms and some will camp.
"This is the first time in 20 years we have been back to a college campus," Laird said.
The association was attracted to BGSU for several reasons.
"First of all, we wanted to test the water of a college campus again and see if that would work for our members," Laird said.
Also, she said, the facilities are nice and the pricing was fair.