Winners of the coveted PHIL award this year were Kellin Quinn, Daniel Brown and Lucian Fuller.
About 200 jugglers registered for the 34th annual Groundhog Day Jugglers Festival held February 3,4 and 5, 2012. Most were from the Southeast, but folks traveled from Texas, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Minnesota. One or two even made it here from Montreal. The weather mostly favored us in spite of predictions of rain, and Friday's turnout was a little larger than last year.
Saturday morning featured Juggling Games, ably directed by AJA member Spencer Schwab. They included a ruthless version of Simon Says with clubs, a 5-ball endurance contest, and a blindfold-juggling endurance event. Rain fell on the Saturday evening fire juggling, the only precipitation of the weekend.
Twelve jugglers contested for the Coveted Groundhog trophy under the watchful eye of Atlanta Jugglers Association founder Rodger French, after the traditional performance by the Kelly's Seed and Feed Marching Abominable Band. Winners were Kellen Quinn of St Louis MO (Most Marvelous), Daniel Brown of Seminole FL (Most Superb), and Lucian Fuller of Orlando FL (Most Fabulous).
Quinn's act featured some fine cane and ball manipulation, as well as juggling with square rings and an umbrella. Brown did a technically impressive routine which included 5- and 7-ball tricks. Fuller's act included a red costume, an attractive assistant, and plenty of death-defying feats on high unicycle.
Other highlights included a demonstration of cane manipulation (Will Brazwell, Austin TX), some inspired clowning by Safe-T-Third juggling (Luke Eden and John Jackson, Athens GA) and a parody of the Twilight movie (Objects In Motion, Gainesville FL). The larger-than-life Picasso the Gorilla puppet helped to pass the hat after the show.
The Cabaret, MCed by Michael Jay Garner, showed fifteen acts. Musical interludes included a parodic song by Michael, Steve Garner, Laura Garner and Zachariah Pierce about the tragic theft of a bag of juggling props, John Nations exploring his inner singer-songwriter with "Fifty Ways to Lose a Juggle", and Steve Seaberg with Madison Bryan performing music and acrobatics. Other featured acts included Andy Ford premiering a stand-up comedy routine, Cate Flaherty with some funny and effective parts of her busking show, and Judah Andrews and Mitt Lenix bravely persevering through a staff-spinning routine in spite of continuing sound system troubles. The Mouse award went to Jerry "Free Hugs" Taylor for his continuing services to the AJA.
Sunday was the usual mix of thrilling stunts and club-passing, plus a large assortment of fond good-byes. The festival concluded with the ceremonial dinner at Panahar Restaurant, where we ate, laughed, and boasted about the weekend.
Festival report by Charles Shapiro