By Christopher D. Garcia, aka Draco the Juggler

Club Balancing Endurance

Ever since attending my first juggling festival, the First Annual Berkeley Juggling and Unicycle Festival, I was introduced to the magical world of juggling fests that has become a huge part of my life today. Ever since then, it has also been a dream of mine to host a well-known juggling festival that is free to all interested in juggling and the circus arts. That dream became a goal, and now that goal has been accomplished. My attempt at creating the Santa Cruz Juggling Festivals is also powered by the fun and inspiration I had from other festivals as well such as the IJA Convention, Humboldt Juggling Fests, Isla Vista Juggling Festival, Berkeley Juggling and Unicycle Fests, Johnston Juggle Jam, and other fests I have been to. I have also been inspired by many of my juggling friends like those in the Vulcan Crew, Humboldt Circus, Santa Clara Jugglers, Stanford Jugglers, Silver Creek Jugglers, Klutz Jugglers, Berkeley Jugglers, Santa Cruz Jugglers, and many other jugglers I have met.

As a very special juggler once wrote in my high school yearbook upon my graduation, “I love this page because it has those 2 words on it right next to you [struggle: n. a long fight to attain something] [unique: n. unusually good and special]. You and I both know what a struggle it is to make something unique. But you’ve done it, Chris. You are in my opinion, a great juggler and a great guy. Now go share your gifts with others. That’s my only advice.” This is the man who also “defines the most common paths in juggling as Performance, Art, Sport, and Hobby. But there is a Fifth Path, the one he himself has followed: that of the talented artisan who shares his skills and knowledge to facilitate others’ journeys down a juggling path.” This man has been my main source of juggling inspiration and is like a juggling father to me; he is Matt Hall… and now I follow his Fifth Path.

Last year I started the Santa Cruz Juggling Festival as a one day event in honor of World Juggling Day on June 18th, 2009. The festival took place on UCSC’s East Field on a hot sunny day and there were about 30+ attendees. There was music, workshops, a renegade show, and a fire show; it was a good step to a festival just born to the world.

This year the Santa Cruz Juggling Festival took a huge leap from what it was last year. I spent many months and countless hours planning to make the event more like the juggling festivals I have attended. One huge plus about this year is that the festival actually had a gym. It also had some other cool things like a nature walk/parade, Renegade Juggling Store Happy Hour, public variety show, juggling games (with some cool UCSC slug plushies as prizes), a raffle, and Sunday fire juggling by the beach. I also did the “Blind Juggler Project” a few weeks before the festival, which consisted of me juggling blindfolded across campus to spread word to my fellow colleagues about the fest. We had many sponsors (as seen on the right side of this blog) that donated prizes to the Sunday raffle. There were a total of 110 festival attendees during the duration of the 3 days (according to all who signed the waiver). This year we gained about $300 in donations and from the raffle for next year’s festival.

But as all festivals have their good things, they also have some bad things or things that didn’t go according to plan. This year SCJF didn’t have a Friday renegade show as we had a small number of people Friday, but instead all of the people there went to Taqueria Vallarta for dinner, which was pretty fun too. We didn’t have the gym on Friday, although it was a nice day so it didn’t matter too much. We also didn’t have an actual stage for the public show, but the show still ended up being AWESOME. We didn’t have a set list of workshops during the festival, but I did see some renegade ones happen. One huge obstacle that I had to deal with as an organizer was having a very small budget to run the festival off of. I only had about $230 to work with to make this event happen; $100 came from the UCSC Juggling Club doing an event for our college the week before the fest; $100 from J.C. Sue and his family as a donation; and about $30 or so from J.C. and I street performing in Downtown Santa Cruz; and of course some money out of my own pocket, although I cant recall how much. Unfortunately, I did not submit a grant proposal to UCSC in time to get funded by the college this year. Well, its like they say… learn from your mistakes; these are some things I will keep in mind for next year.

Overall, I feel that this years Santa Cruz Juggling Festival was a HUGE success; all the hard work that went into this event paid off. Thank you all for supporting my and the UCSC Juggling Club’s efforts and coming out to have fun at the Santa Cruz 2nd Annual Juggling Festival. Until next year everyone!


  • Cindy Marvell

    It’s OK to charge a modest fee; other festivals do, and people would rather pay a bit than lack the features they care about. The Boulder fest has sliding scale for the show, and you can also have individual daily fees so those attending a short time don’t get rooked.

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