Pocono Juggle Fest 2018 Review

After a two year (and one day) hiatus, the Pocono Juggle Fest returned to the festival scene. Held at Panther Valley High School in Summit Ridge, Pennsylvania and organized by former IJA Chair Kim Laird, some 30+ jugglers and flow artists gathered in the gym for a weekend of fun and record breaking.

An unexpected snowstorm canceled Friday activities, which rescheduled the group world record attempt “most jugglers juggling in an underground mine” to Sunday. That meant Saturday was nothing but open juggling, workshops, seeing old friends and making new ones.  The Parent-Teacher Organization hosted a food booth with some economical and tasty choices, making it very easy to stay onsite.

Workshops included multiplex juggling, club passing (both learning it as well as an easier way to teach it), diabolo, as well as rope dart and aerials.  Some of the notable attendees included Kit Summers, Dextre Tripp, Bob Nickerson, Sky King, Chris Garcia, Larry Vee, Josh Horton, and Taylor Glenn.

There was a best trick competition before the gym closed to set up for the public show. Benjamin Lipman (3rd, combination trick on rola bola, headroll/contact juggling), Josh Horton (2nd, club throw into basketball hoop), and Chris Garcia (1st, diabolo/dinobolo dinosaur puppet) all received trophies made from coal drawn from the area.

L-R: Josh Horton, Benjamin Lipman, and Chris Garcia

The public show was ably emceed by Stephanie Monseu of the Bindlestiff Family Circus. Performers included Andrew Kaefer, who juggled on a unicycle. The Fly by Night jugglers did some comedy juggling (I know, I was “That Guy”). Monseu herself performed a whip routine. Being held so close to International Women’s Day, there was also a tribute to women who had made significant impact in our world, as well as more specifically circus and juggling arts. Taylor Glenn surprised Sky King with one such tribute, which was a lovely personal touch. Chris Garcia worked up to three LED diabolos. Josh Horton and Taylor Glenn set a world record for takeaways with 3 machetes, and also performed solo routines (Horton with clubs and rings, Glenn doing an LED ball routine). Circus Stella (Dextre Tripp and Jana Colvin) performed with their rescue dogs adding fuzzy delight to the proceedings.

Many jugglers (27, by official count) returned Sunday to the No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum to set the record for most jugglers juggling in an underground mine.   There was an abbreviated tour and then it was down to the mines for some quick juggling.

People returned to the gym after that for more juggling and goodbyes. It was good to see the return of this much-loved festival. Hope to see  you there next year!

PHOTO CREDIT: All photographs taken by Jay Ko

Eric "Propfessor" Shibuya works as Professor of Strategic Studies, Marine Corps University and has been juggling for over 35 years. He was one of the guest editors for the 50th anniversary edition of Jugglers World and currently serves on the IJA Board of Directors. He's a frequent attendee of regional juggling and flow festivals. He lives in Virginia.

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