Page 5                                                                    Fall 1985

Atlanta Big Toss Up

 Family Gravity

The IJA Juggling Super-Circus Gathers In Atlanta

The Atlanta Jugglers Association hosted more than 550 of its juggling brothers and sisters from around the globe for the 38th Annual UA "Family Reunion" July 15-21.


The challenge of housing, feeding and entertaining so many guests was met by about 20 AJA members under the direction of convention co-chairmen Rodger French and Toni Shifalo. The level of the seriousness with which they viewed their task stood out in a nightmare suffered by AJA member Richard Huber, who got precious few hours sleep between time spent at the registration table, running errands around town and unlocking locked doors for people who misplaced keys.


Huber, relieved to awaken from his revery to the real world of hectic convention activity,

sighed that he had dreamed "that only three people came to the convention and they were walking around in the gym pretending like they were having fun."


In fact, the multitude had so much fun that sleep was a low priority with most people. The most important ingredients for family reunion success were on hand - food and friends. The relief of a respite from life on the road or from juggling alone in backwater burgs swept jugglers up in practice sessions, passing formations, story-telling, business,. and partying that continued well past their normal bedtimes.


Many stepped gratefully into the massive, air-conditioned cavern of Emory University 's Woodruff Physical Education Center after a long plane ride. The most unique arrival, John Gunser of Sugar Grove, llIinois, came via a 15-day, 1,040-mile bicycle ride.


The daily routine inside the gymnasium included visiting with the dozen prop manufacturers and their dwindling store of equipment. Business was good, most prop makers said. Reports of sales increases over the past year ranged from "steady" to "phenomenal." Richard Powers of Jugglebug expressed a common optimism for the future of the industry in his statement that "you ain't seen nothing yet. " However, he maintained that the reality of today is "mayonaisse sandwiches and Post Toasties" instead of caviar.


Optimism reigned on an administrative level as well, as the IJA board of directors voted to found a Hall of Fame, plan for a "Juggler's Homeland," institute a system of achievement level awards, and begin a year­long membership drive and incentive contest. Members took up the organizational banner by taking home almost 10,000 new membership brochures to help recruit their friends and acquaintances into the ranks.

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