September 1979 Volume 31, Number 56
Amherst Draws Largest Gathering of Jugglers Ever
Annual Convention Report
Days in July...
Eric Roberts & John Robinson
1979 convention chairpersons
32nd Annual Convention of the International Jugglers' Association is
over. After all the months of preparation and getting the convention
details settled, that fact is often difficult for us to believe, but for
six days in July, nearly 450 jugglers came together at Hampshire College
in Amherst for the largest gathering of jugglers in history. Some of the
jugglers came from nearby New England towns, other came from Hawaii,
England, West Germany or as far away as Sydney, Australia. For many of
the jugglers, Amherst was their first convention, others like founding
member George Barvinchak, were around in the earliest days of the IJA.
But for everyone, from near and far, both young and old the six days at
Amherst were filled with tremendous excitement wonderful times and, as
always great juggling.
main activities of the convention were held at the Robert Crown Center
which seemed ideally suited to the needs of the Jugglers assembled. Most
of the juggling and workshops took place in a large gymnasium area with
good lighting, a spectators' gallery upstairs and a wonderful Tartan
floor that made bounce tricks possible with almost anything. Just
outside the hall, many of the major propmakers set up display tables and
business was reported brisk. The Crown Center also houses a swimming
pool, a sauna and a student-run cafe, all of which provided a welcome
escape from all the juggling or the summer weather.
addition to the juggling hall, Hampshire College also provided dormitory
space, a dining hall serving quite reasonable food (including vegetarian
entrees at every meal) and acres of campus space for outdoor juggling.
Having the dormitory and dining facilities close to the convention hall
was a much-appreciated convenience. .
those of you who missed it (and for those who didn't) there is a
synopsis of convention highlights on page 6.
Bill Giduz, editor
at Amherst I heard people say that the IJA is only two things - the
annual convention and the newsletter. That's true enough. The executive
board only meets at convention time and there wasn't even a permanent
mailing address until this month.
a juggling organization could be supported for 32 years on such flimsy
and infrequent foundations reflects well on the cause it supports.
Juggling's simplistic tie to greater life forces attracts both new
members and the individual effort necessary to arrange a convention and
publish a newsletter. I jumped at the chance to apply my learned job -
journalism - to the cause, and I know Larry Olson and Bill Palladino
eagerly look forward to hosting next year's convention in Fargo, N.D.
For all of us, it's a chance to serve a cause we believe in and people
proved to me that juggling thrives when jugglers gather. I think the
best way for the IJA to promote the skill is to sponsor conventions.
Shilling for that convention, therefore, is the greatest service the
newsletter can render.
hundred years of semi-monthly issues couldn't document the information
shared at a single convention. The inspiration gained from personal
contact with other jugglers can't be duplicated here. But through the
information it gathers from the membership, the newsletter can pique
jugglers' appetites for personal contact with others of their own kind.
Doing so, it might inspire some to
attend the next gathering, where their own five senses will discover so
much more than here.
we meet again, then, greet fellow jugglers with the rallying cry,
"Forward To Fargo!"
I'd like to hear from by October 15 for stories in the November Issue:
Oldtimer Bill Dietrich and first-timer Andy Ford enjoy the scene at
David Tabatsky dances five balls across the floor.