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September 1979                                                Volume 31, Number 56

Amherst Draws Largest Gathering of Jugglers Ever 

32nd Annual Convention Report

7 Days in July...


by Eric Roberts & John Robinson                                   ;

1979 convention chairpersons


The 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.


The 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.


In 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. .

For those of you who missed it (and for those who didn't) there is a synopsis of convention highlights on page 6.



by Bill Giduz, editor


Repeatedly 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.


That 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 we admire;

Amherst 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.


A 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.


Until we meet again, then, greet fellow jugglers with the rallying cry, "Forward To Fargo!"


People I'd like to hear from by October 15 for stories in the November Issue:

Other jogglers

Long-time IJA'ers

Exotic object jugglers

Long-journey jugglers

Everyone else

Oldtimer Bill Dietrich and first-timer Andy Ford enjoy the scene at Hampshire College. Oldtimer Bill Dietrich and first-timer Andy Ford enjoy the scene at Hampshire College.


David Tabatsky dances five balls across the floor.

David Tabatsky dances five balls across the floor.

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