IJA eNewsletter – January 2024

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   IJA eNewsletter
 January 2024Editors: Don Lewis & Martin Frost


  • 2024 IJA Festival
  • CBS TV coverage of 2023 IJA Festival
  • A seven-year old covers the 2023 IJA Festival
  • 2024 Golden Clown circus award for Charles and Alexandre Gruss
  • Visit Lambeau Field in Green Bay
  • Be open to sharing
  • Look after your eyesight
  • 2024 IJA Festival scholarship applications open
  • IJA Board meetings
  • Latest articles in eJuggle



2024 IJA Festival  by Afton Benson

IJA 2024 Festival Green BayIJA 2024 Festival Green Bay

Welcome 2024!  We’re just about six months away from the festival and the planning is cruising along.  If you’re a juggler who also enjoys disc golf, there will be an organized disc golf outing.  And we’re organizing and securing a place for fire night — keep your eyes peeled for updates.

Early Bird pricing will be available until Noon ET on March 1, 2024, so register soon to get the best price for the festival.  To register, head over to Festival Registration.

When you register online, you can also donate 50% or 100% of an Adult or Youth Event Package to the Festival Scholarship Fund.  This fund will be used to help jugglers attend the festival who may otherwise be unable to be there.  If you are in a position to help render assistance to your fellow jugglers, please donate to fund.  That would be outstanding!  And help spread the word about the IJA Festival Scholarship Fund.

If you pre-register for the festival online, you’ll have the opportunity to secure a limited-edition IJA black zip-up sweater with a white embroidered IJA logo.  We will NOT be selling these at the festival nor will we be shipping them.  The only way to get one is to pre-register for the fest, order the limited-edition sweater, and attend the 2024 IJA fest.

The entire IJA Festival team of volunteers cannot wait to see you in Green Bay!  Register now, invite your friends, and spread the word!

All the best,
Afton & Noel




CBS TV coverage of 2023 IJA Festival  by Martin Frost

In early January, CBS Sunday Morning included a story about the IJA!  They filmed the story at the 2023 IJA Festival in South Bend, and they captured the real magic of juggling and the IJA: the people in the community.  The whole story is around 5 minutes and is well worth watching.  CBS liked the story so much, they delayed airing it in order to run it during “sweeps week”.  Check out our amazing community!

CBS story about the 2023 IJA Fest



A seven-year old covers the 2023 IJA Festival  by Martin Frost

For another perspective of the 2023 IJA Festival, see this IJA fest article from the perspective of a seven-year-old.



2024 Golden Clown circus award for Charles and Alexandre Gruss  by Niels Duinker

Great news from Monaco this month at the Monte Carlo Circus Festival.  The IJA congratulates Charles and Alexandre Gruss for winning the prestigious Golden Clown award for their horseback juggling act.  This accomplishment is the highest honor in the circus world. In the illustrious history of the International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo, this award has been a rare honor for jugglers.  Anthony Gatto, the first IJA Award of Excellence recipient, was until now the only juggler to have received the Golden Clown.  In the past, IJA honorary award recipients Viktor Kee, Sergei Ignatov and Dick Franco were awarded the Silver Clown.  We are proud to see our fellow jugglers recognized on the international stage for their exceptional skills and contributions to the circus arts.




Visit Lambeau Field in Green Bay  by Mike Sullivan

Lambeau FieldSign up for the 2024 Green Bay Bus Tour & Pub Crawl now!

Every fan of American football knows the storied history of Lambeau Field, the legendary home of the Green Bay Packers, who to this day still hold more professional football titles than any other NFL team, ever.

During our festival week, you’ll have a special opportunity to tour Lambeau Field, the Packers Hall of Fame, the Packers Pro Shop, and even go down to field level and see where so much NFL history has been made, up-close.

It’s an incredible experience, whether you’re a Packers fan or not.  Even non-football fans will be impressed by it all, and it’s something you will always remember about your week in Green Bay.

The Lambeau Field tour is just one stop among several on the special IJA pre-fest bus tour of Green Bay, set for Monday afternoon, July 8.

We’ll depart from the Hyatt Hotel at 1pm and visit all our festival venues, including The Meyer Theater, the KI Center, many area restaurants and bars, the riverfront Hagemeister Park dining area, Lambeau Field and the amazing National Railroad Museum.

Lambeau FieldWe’ll slake our thirst along the way with a pint or two of some great local Wisconsin brews, including plenty of time at Lambeau Field and the 1919 Kitchen and Tap.  By dinner time, we’ll be back near the Hyatt for a final draft and optional group dinner at one of the great casual restaurants near the hotel.

Tickets for all this, including our custom charter bus, admission and tour at Lambeau Field, our tour of the National Railroad Museum, and two local drafts at our pub stops, are just $85 each.  Best of all, you’ll be with dozens of your new (or old) juggling friends!

Be sure to make your travel plans so you arrive into Green Bay in time for our 1pm CT departure on Monday afternoon!

Get your tickets now in the IJA Store.  Sign in to your IJA account and then look for 2024 Green Bay Bus Tour & Pub Crawl and Lambeau Field.

Any questions?  Please email vendors@juggle.org.

See you on the bus!

Mike Sullivan
Tour Organizer



Be open to skill sharing  by Don Lewis

Recently I attended Turbofest in Quebec City.  It is a great festival, held in the Quebec Circus School.  There are lots of workshops which is fun.

I got to the space early one morning and there weren’t many people up and around.  Someone was listed to give a ropes workshop a couple of hours later.  I don’t get to practice lasso very often, so I wanted to warm up some simple moves.  Before long, there were a few people watching, or pretending not to watch.  The usual question is, “Is that difficult?”  It is only difficult if you don’t know how, at least for basic flat loops.  Happily, I’ve learned to carry a few extra ropes so I was able to show a few people the basics, like twisting the spoke through your fingers.  I had to keep saying “This isn’t the workshop, and I’m not the expert”.

It’s hard to discourage people that want to learn.  I didn’t actually get as much practice as I expected to.  What I got was better.  I had to focus on a whole bunch of other people and making sure they understood exactly what to do, and not to do.  That made me pay a whole lot of attention to what I was demonstrating and explaining, which in turn made me more aware of how I was doing the trick.

That incredulous smile that bursts on a person’s face the first time the wedding ring actually starts spinning around them is worth a lot of interrupted practice time!

Taking the time to explain what you are doing, and how you are doing it, is an excellent exercise in improving your own understanding of a skill.  Share what you know and you will know it even better.  You don’t have to be a teacher to teach and demonstrate.  It is hard to ignore someone who wants to learn, so don’t.  Enjoy the process.



Look after your eyesight  by Don Lewis

About once a year I mention this in the newsletter because I think it is important.  Good juggling needs good vision, but vision is something that lots of people take for granted.  Except in cases of trauma, vision changes tend to be slow and gradual.  The brain compensates as we go along to give the the impression that everything is fine – until one day you notice that it isn’t.

One of the more dramatic problems that can develop unexpectedly is macular degeneration.  It is generally a problem for older people, but it can affect anyone.  This disease degrades central vision.  Fortunately, there are modern treatments that can help preserve vision if the problem is recognized in time.

Detecting the problem is pretty simple.  You look at an Amsler Grid regularly and look for changes in how you see the grid.  Fast intervention by specialists can preserve your vision and keep you juggling.

Don’t take my word for it.  Check out the Amsler Grid.



2024 IJA Festival scholarship applications open  by Afton Benson, IJA Treasurer

The IJA J. Todd Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund is still accepting applications for 2024 IJA Festival Scholarships.  If you have wanted to attend an IJA Festival but have not had a chance and some support would help, apply!  Priority will be given to individuals who have not attended an IJA Festival before.  You can find the application here.  Please share info about this scholarship far and wide — it is open for jugglers around the world.  Applications close at 11:59pm PDT on March 15, 2024.  Scholarships will start being awarded (and recipients notified) well before the application deadline.  The last awardees will be informed by May at the latest.

This fund is named in honor of Todd Smith, one of the world’s top manufacturers of juggling equipment.  Todd was known for giving away props to aspiring jugglers and had the nickname of “the juggler’s friend”.  This scholarship fund will support new jugglers who have not had the chance to attend an IJA Festival.

Big thanks go to the fund’s donors for their generosity: Arthur Lewbel, Mike and Marilyn Sullivan, Unna Med, and a number of other jugglers.  Since 2022, the Scholarship Fund has provided support to 43 jugglers from around the world to attend the IJA’s Annual Festival.

Interested in supporting the J. Todd Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund?  Fantastic!  You can donate here today.  Any questions can be directed to treasurer@juggle.org.



IJA Board meetings  by Ross Berenson, IJA Board ChairIJA Board meetings

IJA Board meetings are open to all IJA members and are hosted on Zoom.  To find out the times of this month’s vision and business meetings, or to attend, please email ija.chair@juggle.org and say which meeting you’re interested in.



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