2016 Festival Schedule

Festival Schedule

The IJA festival in El Paso will feature these Special Guest performers and workshop instructors in the Plaza Theater
at the Welcome Show on Tuesday, July 26 and the Cascade of Stars on Saturday, July 30. Both shows at 8pm.


Cascade of Stars
Originating from Sweden, with the Scandinavian juggling style in his heart, Emil started juggling at the age of seven when he taught himself how to juggle three balls. When he turned 10 his mother gave him his first clubs and it has been his dearest object since then. Making his living out of juggling from an early age, he has performed for a number of different audiences, at various stages and arenas, as well as Swedish, Finnish and Danish national television.

After high school he moved to Copenhagen and studied for two years at the highly regarded Circus school AFUK – Akademiet For Utæmmet Kreativitet. He received a bachelor of art from DOCH – University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm, and is now touring the world with his act Magnet Opus.

Click here for information to sign up for Emil’s Special Workshop during the festival.

The Beginning

After the juggling session, 8 of the jugglers, led by Art Jennings, Roger Montandon, Harry Lind, and Jack Greene, met at a local restaurant and decided that a separate organization just for jugglers would be beneficial. They chose a name, drew up bylaws, and chose the organization’s first officers. Other founding members at the meeting were Bernie Joyce, George Barvinchak, Bill Dunham, and Eddie Johnson. Other jugglers in attendance at the convention became charter members of the IJA. They included Bobby Jule, Vin Carey, Doc Baldwin, Teddy Ray, and Joe Fleckenstein.

First Annual Convention

The first annual convention (later festival) was held in Jamestown, NY in June of 1948. It was attended by 38 of the young organization’s 115 members. The conventions of the 1950s and 1960s remained small gatherings, usually bringing together between twenty and thirty jugglers. The first convention held on the West Coast of the USA was held in 1968 and drew forty attendees. In 1975, the first convention to utilize a gym was held in Youngstown, Ohio and was organized by Dick Franco and Joe Sullivan. It was attended by 175 people and marked the first “modern” convention.

By 1982, more than 600 jugglers were coming to the IJA Convention. The first IJA convention or festival held outside the USA took place in Montreal, Canada in 1992. In 1978, the IJA held a mini-convention in Brighton, UK. This became the start of the European Juggling Convention, which is now the world’s largest gathering of jugglers.

The IJA produced newsletters for members until 1982, when they switched to Jugglers’ World Magazine, which was published until 1998. At that time, Juggle Magazine became the organization’s publication for members. In 2011, the IJA switched to an online format, eJuggle, which is now available to anyone in the world whether they are a member or not. The IJA has produced many instructional videos throughout the years to help share the art of juggling with the world.

First Annual Convention
The IJA first sponsored juggling competitions, then known as the World Juggling Championships, in 1969. The Stage Championships became more formalized in 1979 and are now considered the world’s premier juggling competitions. Videos of the IJA Stage and Numbers Championships have been produced since 1984 and have served as inspiration for countless jugglers. Starting in 2011, the organization began holding IJA Regional Competitions (IRCs), which take the format of the IJA Stage Championships and bring it to other regions of the world. The IRCs have now occurred in several different countries, and are gaining momentum as a popular international program.

World Juggling Day is an IJA sponsored event. Annually, it is observed on the Saturday closest to June 17, which is the day the IJA was founded in 1947. Originally, the day began as “National Juggling Day”, but changed to “World Juggling Day” in 1995 in order to better fulfill the mission of the organization. This event has been known to be celebrated by over 10,000 people in 60 countries.

In more recent years, the IJA has embraced the modern era of social media, and has grown to have one of the strongest and most popular online juggling presences, which aims to promote and support juggling on an international level. In 2015, Instagram featured the IJA as a Suggested User, for being an online presence that promotes unity and inspiration around the world.

In a multitude of ways, the IJA continues to “render assistance to fellow jugglers,” which has been the organization’s mission statement from the beginning.

Visit our Archived IJA History Site to learn more about the IJA’s history.

Past Festivals

The IJA festival is the longest running annual juggling festival in the world, and has helped to shape the juggling world as it exists today. Founded in 1947, the annual festival has attracted as many as 1,200 people in it most popular years, and as little as 6 people in it’s lowest attended year. Below is a list of festival years and locations dating back to 1969. Click on each year to see detailed information from that year, including Championships information.