Pocono Juggle Fest brings circus professionals to local community
Laura Ernst of Des Moines, Iowa, hangs upside down on the aerial silks while holding a student with her hands.
"As Yet Unnamed Pocono Juggle Fest" was everything a beginning juggler could hope for. There were plenty of people ready to help you learn the skills and they were many props available to borrow and it was all presented in an atmosphere that made it exciting and fun.
The event, or rather series of events, was held this past weekend at Panther Valley Middle School and Lehighton Area High School, concluding with a big show on Saturday night filled with jugglers who have performed all around the world.
For Rob Barowski and Kim Laird, coordinators of the event, there was a feeling of gratification and delight as they shared their interest in juggling and circus arts with the entire community.
"I started a juggle club in Lehighton a few years ago and I thought it would be kind of neat to hold a festival," said Barowski. "There are acts here from all over the world, actually international acts. These are the major performers - people who perform all over the world. You'll see them on cruise ships and they have performed for Leno and Letterman."
Barowski said that his goal is to bring back to the area the old circus style entertainment that this area had seen back in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.
"These people are all my friends, who are closer than family," said Barowski. "This is one big juggle party."
Barowski said that the performers came from Colorado, San Francisco, St. Louis and more.
"They are teaching professionals," he said. "They love teaching and showing off. They are good at what they do and they want to share their knowledge."
Barowski said that the group has gathered up some of their extra props and have sent them to the school in Newtown, Conn. to help the children in that community heal.
The participants had a good time too.
For Megan Nanovic, she practiced balancing a prop on her chin which held a spinning saucer, while her sister, Sarah Nanovic tried the aerial silks.
Teaching the class on aerial silks was Laura Ernst of Des Moines, Iowa.
Ernst instructed her class how to turn their bodies to hang upside down using one arm to hold themselves.
She then shimmied up the silks and hung upside down using her opened legs to hold herself in place.
"What you learned today, it took me two months," said Ernst. Some of her students grasped the lessons better than others. Nanovic has a background in gymnastics and was able to easily understand the concept and was soon hanging upside down while holding herself with one arm.
For Paul Delcorral of northern New Jersey, who was juggling five brightly colored rings, he came to hang out with the professionals and soak up the knowledge.
"I'm here to immerse myself in the action," said Delcorral. "I heard about the event and got myself a hotel room and I'm here for the weekend."
Throughout the day on Saturday, there were impromptu lessons in every corner of the gym, corridors and auditorium with willing students aged 15 to 85 picking up some skills.
Meranda DeFazi of Lansford was helping people learn how to hula hoop and John Satriano was one of her students.
DeFazi said that movements to hold up the hula hoop had to be brisk and that hip action will help move the hula hoop upward when it slides down your body.
The Big Show which concluded the three day festival was action throughout the evening by the circus art professionals.