Posted by: Jack | October 1, 2007

Portland Juggling Festival (PJF) 2007

Taking place at Reed College, this festival is hosted by the juggling club which I will be attending as of November. I’m not really sure what else to say about this event. Normally I like to take a lot of pictures everywhere I go and then choose the photos that best represent each location/event and use these photos to guide my narrative. But this weekend everything interesting took place in a gymnasium where, due to poor lighting, good action photography generally requires a really nice camera and/or lighting apparatus…or maybe techniques that I just don’t know about.
So here’s what happened:

I juggled a lot. I attended a variety of workshops. I unicycled a bit. Juggled some more. Attended two tremendous juggling-and-miscellaneous shows. Visited with Jennie, Anil and Kylie. Juggled even more. Didn’t win anything in the drawing. Drove home.

As seems to be the case with most juggling festivals, in addition to loads of inspiration I also found a fair amount of discouragement. It seemed that five-club juggling (which I’ve been working on for about eight months now but still have a weak grasp on) is to PJF attendees as one-hand-handstands are to Cirque du Soleil performers; everyone can do it like it’s no big deal. Despite all the juggling progress I’ve made in the last year, I still feel that my skill is surpassed by the average level of ability at this event — given that calculation of average juggling ability would be possible.

One thing I found surprising was the significant impression I made with my rusty trials unicycling skills which I only demonstrated briefly. In the world of trials unicycling I am at best intermediately accomplished and I’m surprised that all of these jugglers haven’t had more exposure to the true experts out there. Just about every trials unicyclist seems to put their videos online.

As unicycling was apparently my area of relative expertise, I was really looking forward to the mountain unicycling group ride that was scheduled for Sunday but much to my dismay, it got rained out.

Overall it was certainly a good time and I’ve come away with more than enough material to keep me busy until whatever festival comes next. It’s also exciting to know that my future juggling club will have plenty of members who will always be able to teach me something new; a feature that has been lacking at the Evergreen College club.

This time next year I should be one of those people that can juggle five clubs with ease but as is the way with juggling, I’ll likely be aggravated by the fact that everyone else will have gotten better too.



  1. Next time your in Portland, Oregon and want to unicycle drop us a line:

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