Going for the Jugglar: These folks converge on Reed College from all over for a weekend every year

DAVID F. ASHTON - Inside Reed College buildings and out, jugglers do what they came for - juggling. One of the largest events of its kind celebrated its 25th anniversary in the last week of September at Reed College: The Portland Juggling Festival.

This year's festival again attracted about 300 participants, and was like many of these events over the past two-and-a-half decades, reflected Festival Director Michael Klinglesmith – with one exception. "We have a unique situation this year – an unexpected challenge – because the roof on the large gymnasium broke the day before our Festival, and water poured in there," Klinglesmith said. "So, we've had to find new workshop spaces, and everyone is scrambling to adjust, giving this year's festival a little different feel. We have people spread out all over different places on the campus!"

This year's Festival began on Friday evening, September 29, and wrapped up on Sunday, having provided more than 50 workshops. "We have all-volunteer workshop instructors; these are people come here to share what they know, and to teach their friends things that they've learned," explained Klinglesmith.

DAVID F. ASHTON - Trying her skill on the tall unicycle is Morgan Langham from Alaska -- assisted by Daniel Sloan from Washington State.  Why people come from all over the world to attend this juggling event, Klinglesmith thinks, is a combination of the Festival having had a long history, and friendships. "There's now a whole circuit of regional festivals across the country; they all have their roots in a very small number of festivals the started it all, like ours.

"The best part of this Festival is that all of my friends get to come here to juggle," said Klinglesmith. "Here, I get to go to a Juggling Festival without having to pack or travel, and I get to sleep in my own bed!"

You can learn or practice juggling and circus arts skills every Wednesday night at Reed College. Learn more, at the local group's website:

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