Winners of the coveted PHIL award this year were Chauncey Kroner, Drew Brown and Chase Martin.
Two hundred and ten jugglers and four vendors attended the thirty-fifth annual Groundhog Day Jugglers Festival February 1-3 in Atlanta Georgia. The Yaarab Temple space was lovely as always, and many old friends re-united over new passing patterns on Friday night.
Among the festival innovations this year were name tags, very handy for maneuvering people in big club-passing groups. In addition, Made Members had printed plastic nametags, making them easy targets for questions like "Where's a good restaurant here?" or "How do I sign up for the competitions?".
Saturday games were chaired by the able Spencer Schwab, now living in Florida with his new wife Shivella Schwab (nee Rogers). Events included 5-ball endurance, club balance, the infamous Juggling Simon Says, quarter juggling, club crown, and a novel 7-club paired endurance competition with randomized partners.
Ten acts entered the 2 pm Groundhog Day Competition. Among the outstanding acts was Keith McNeil and family, with a popeye-themed show which included some subtle multi-prop manipulations, and Alan Thompson with a strong club presentation. Chase Martin took "Most Wonderful" with astonishing four- and five-ball bounce tricks. Chauncey Kroner of St Louis made "Most Pleasing" with a routine which included a trick boom-box prop which opened to reveal his juggling props and some high-level flips and rolls. Drew Brown was "Most Fabulous" with a high-speed cane routine which he did almost flawlessly -- no drops, and only one subtle fumble.
The Saturday Night Cabaret featured 9 acts. First up was Tim Settimi with a slide-show and tribute to the three members of our community who died this year. Jay Garner and friends performed a strong tribute to the South Korean rapper Psy's viral hit "Gangnam Style". Previous groundhog day winner David Ferman showed his professional juggling chops well. Last year's "Most Marvelous" Kellin Quinn also juggled for the crowd. Uri Gottschalk and his partner Spencer demonstrated some championship Yo-Yo moves next. Neil Jordaan helped to publicize (and raise money for) the new AJA Floor with an exciting rope escape. Jay Jones won this year's Mouse Award. The North Carolina juggling group "Forty Fingers and a Missing Tooth" did a well-choreographed group club passing routine. Chase Martin closed the show with some tricks which he felt weren't quite ready for non-jugglers yet, hitting many of them.
Other activities at the festival included Jonathan Perry's new Apples to Apples juggling card deck, which was great fun if you're In the Culture. Workshops on cane juggling, poi, kendama, and other skills were well-attended. The fun ended at Panahar Restaurant on Buford Highway, where a small but hardy cohort toasted the last festival and started plans for 2014.
Festival report by Charles Shapiro