Annual Juggling Festival

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Annual Juggling Festival
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By Robert Bernstein

Last weekend people came from far and wide to attend the 42nd Annual Isla Vista Juggling Festival at UCSB and Isla Vista! The longest-running juggling festival in the world!

Here are all my videos and photos!

The highlight of the Festival is the Public Show at the Isla Vista Theater. The event is a fund raiser for "Standing Together to End Sexual Assault" (SBSTESA) formerly known as the Rape Crisis Center. This is in honor of Isla Vista juggler Patty Laney who was raped and murdered back in the 1970s.

Our own local juggler, unicyclist and acrobat Danielle Bushar produced the show and professional juggler and comedian Brent Fiasco volunteered his services as Emcee of the show. Here they are doing a raffle drawing:

Here Brent Fiasco warms up the crowd with some humor and juggling

For many years the math and science wizards from the Stanford Juggling Research Institute have demonstrated their creative moves. One of their star performers Martin Frost could not make it this time, so young Michael Pearce stood in for him with a clip-on white beard. Along with him were Rick Rubenstein (narrating), NeilFred Picciotto (Purple Guy at Google) and Cal State Long Beach math professor Will Murray

Jeffrey Daymont is a professional juggler who also designed the Festival t-shirt this year. Here he does some Cigar Box Juggling

Brent Fiasco was back on stage showing that he can juggle knives with a plastic trash bag taped over his head. But only after putting on the proper safety equipment.

Michael Pearce was up next juggling toilet plungers. First he juggled three. Then four. Then he kept on going. Not easy to juggle objects that are not balanced for juggling!

Taylor Glenn offered a beautiful round of juggling in the dark with various lighted props and effects

Before the Public Show on Saturday the Festival took place in the UCSB Multi-Activity Court. This offers still air for intricate juggling and it offers a smooth surface for unicycling and other circus acts.

Chuck and April Fernald, Bryan Langholz and Steve Cohen passed clubs in an unusual Diamond Dropback configuration.

Mark Chun, Jack Anderson, Zach Gately and Cosmo Hom kept changing places as they passed clubs

Professional juggler Rob Crites played around with different five club tricks

It is rare to see such performances on stage because few people appreciate how hard it is to juggle five clubs!

Likewise with this truly amazing bit of juggling seven balls by Alex Limbach! You will never see this at a circus or other public performance!

Carl Hunt took advantage of the smooth surface to combine several very difficult feats all at once:
Riding a unicycle
Wheel walking a unicycle
Juggling clubs

He was disappointed because his fourth trick of passing a club under his leg was not working as regularly as he wanted!

After the Public Show at the Isla Vista Theater, the jugglers crossed the street to Peoples' Park for night juggling.

These two passed lighted clubs in the dark

But what was really special was the fire juggling. The Festival received a special permit for the occasion.

This guy Courtney Lopez went far beyond the usual fire arts. He has created his own version of fire eating that is over the top. I asked him if he worries about the fact that he is ingesting toxic materials and he said he would find out in ten years. If you are squeamish about such things, you have been warned. I have to say I was impressed with his skill and artistry.

The next day offered a chance for more hanging out in Peoples' Park and more juggling.

Will Murray and Michael Pearce displayed this hypnotically perfect performance of club passing

Brent Fiasco juggled clubs and a ball while bouncing the ball off of his head. Quite impressive

Local Festival organizers May Camp and Matt Guidry passed clubs with visitor Jack Anderson. They demonstrated one of the most valuable juggling skills: Keeping the flow going after a drop and retrieving dropped clubs back into the pattern!

Juggling five balls is an achievement that some jugglers never master. Taylor Glenn and Michael Pearce have mastered it so well that they turned it into a synchronized competition!

Kaitlyn Loyd and Zach Gately chose to steal clubs for awhile rather than passing them

I am more of a unicyclist than a juggler, but I was pleased I still remember a bit of juggling

Thanks to Wendy of SBSTESA for making the video of me

The Festival had two full sets of twins with the Thomas brothers and the Cohen brothers

Local Matt Guidry is also a twin, but his other half was not at the Festival this time.

Here the Thomas twins Jim and Bruce passed clubs

Rebecca and Matthew and their son Morgan show that the family that juggles together stays together. I have a family photo of them at the Festival ever since Morgan was born.

Public Show producer Danielle Bushar and her daughter Lia posed for this photo. Danielle's son Charles was at the Public Show but he could not make it to the park that last day.

If you missed the fun and creativity of the Juggling Festival this year, be sure to come next year for the 43rd Annual Isla Vista Juggling Festival!

Watch here for future announcements!

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sbrobert May 20, 2018 05:04 PM
Annual Juggling Festival

Thank you for the kind words, JQB. People will pay hundreds of dollars for a ticket to Cirque du Soleil, but some of these juggling and unicycling feats are beyond anything you will ever see at a Cirque performance.
========================================================================== Best wishes,

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