More than 500 jugglers are headed to Bowling Green beginning Monday. They will be armed with kettle bells and circular saws to juggle, and are prepared to wow the locals with extreme stunts like lighting their pants on fire.
|File photo. Jugglers practice at BGSU in 2010. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
"It's everything you would expect to see if you ran off and joined the circus," said Kim Laird, director of the International Jugglers Festival.
"The best way to describe the juggling festival is that it's a family reunion where everyone is the crazy uncle, but you actually like everyone," Laird said.
The festival, which will include a parade, shows, competitions and workshops, begins Monday and runs through July 21.
Jugglers from all over the globe, including several world-renowned performers like the Jonglissimo 4, Markus Furtner, Jetson the Gentleman Juggler, Svetlana Zueva, Steven Ragatz, Jay Gilligan, Rob Torres and Thomas Dietz, will be making the trek to BG. Some of the jugglers are world record holders, and others have performed with Cirque du Soleil.
"We expect to see a few records broken. We will have an official with the Guinness Book of World Records on hand," Laird said.
Workshops and juggling will take place around the clock at Bowling Green State University's Perry Field House. Jugglers will be on hand beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday. They will take part in workshops, demonstrations and will teach others to juggle.
"This convention is not your typical convention where people arrive and sit in on lectures all day long," Laird said.
Throughout the week, there will also be nightly shows. All are family-friendly, but do have an admission cost.
On Thursday, some of the performers will offer up their expertise to help aspiring jugglers. Those interested can come to Perry Field House at 11 a.m. and the $7 spectator fee will be waived.
On Friday at 5 p.m., a parade will step off at Perry Field House and will continue to downtown via Thurstin Avenue and Court Street. The parade will include the International Juggling Association band, hundreds of jugglers and the Bowling Green High School band.
Right after the parade, a buskers street entertainment competition will begin in the Huntington Courtyard and parking lot as well as the Flower Basket lot.
"The buskers will have to draw in their crowd just as they would at any other street show," Laird explained.
The winner, she said, is determined by the performer who has the most money in his hat at the end of the night.
"I am really hoping the people of Bowling Green come out for this," Laird said.
Also, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, Clazel Theater will host Club Renegade, designed for a more adult audience.
"This is supposed to be our more cutting-edge and risqu√© performance. The language is going to be flying and this is definitely not the place to have 10 or 11 year olds," Laird said.
In years past at Club Renegade, performers have thrown knives, juggled circular saws, and read poetry in what Laird described as an "usual way."
•A Taste of Vaudeville, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. (Kobacker Hall); Cost: $20 adults, $10 children.
•Youth and Junior showcase, Wednesday, 7 p.m. (Kobacker Hall); Cost: $20 adults, $10 children.
•Planting the Juggling Seed, Thursday, 11 a.m. (Perry Field House); Cost: Free.
•Teams and Individual championships, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (Kobacker Hall); Cost: $25 adults; $12 students and senior citizens.
•Parade to downtown, Friday, 5 p.m.; Cost: Free.
•Busker Competition, Friday, 6 p.m.; (downtown BG) Cost: Free
•Cascade of Stars, Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (Kobacker Hall); Cost: $30 adults, $15 students and senior citizens.
For more information or for tickets, call (419) 353-9445.