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Special Events

Our festival week in Rochester will be loaded with fun things to do and see almost every hour of the day and night! Check out this list of special events already planned for the week, and check this page again as the fest draws near for the latest updates!

Free Day of Juggling on Monday!

Get to Rochester early for a free bonus day of juggling in the gym! The gym doors will open at 10:00 am Monday morning, July 18th, and you can juggle all day and all night until registration opens at 9:00 am Tuesday morning!

And when the week ends, you can keep juggling all night Saturday night after the Cascade of Stars and Club Renegade -- we don’t have to be out of the building until Noon on Sunday, July 24th!


Perhaps the greatest single thing about any IJA festival is the chance to attend any of the many dozens of free workshops during the week, taught by your fellow jugglers from all over the world. Learn first-hand, in-person, from amazing jugglers ranging from serious hobbyists to world-class professional performers.

Your festival event package or daily Gym Pass grants you admission to every free workshop every day during the festival. Workshops start about 9:00 am and run through 5:00 pm, usually in 50-minute blocks. A complete and computer-updated workshops schedule will be at the Workshops table in the gym all week long.

If you’d like to teach a workshop (or two or three!) during the week, please write Workshops Director Matt Hall to get on the schedule!

Joggling Championships

The IJA World Joggling Championships will take place on Wednesday morning, July 20, 2011 at the John Marshall High School track at 1510 14th St NW, Rochester, MN, starting at 7:00 am. The track is about two miles from the Civic Center.

The entry fee is $10 per competitor for any number of events. Registration will be done in the gym on Tuesday, July 19, and starting at 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 20, at the John Marshall High School track. The first event will start at 8:00 am, and the meet is expected to run until Noon.

Enhancements to the joggling event this year include a new prize structure, number bibs for every joggler, and IJA Joggling t-shirts for all competitors!

For more details on the joggling competition, contact Joggling Director Len Ferman at and see the joggling page of the IJA Web site.

Numbers Championships

The competitors in the IJA Numbers Championships challenge each other as well as all past Numbers champions — and the laws of physics! See who can successfully juggle, individually and in teams, the greatest numbers of balls, clubs, rings and bounced balls. 

Numbers Championships finals are Friday at noon, but you must sign up earlier in the week for a time to try to qualify for the finals. Available cash prizes total $1000, including a special prize for breaking IJA Numbers records. Entry fee: $15 per event. For rules and entry info, see http://www.juggle.org/festival/2008/NumbersRules20080314.php.


XJuggling is the fast paced, non-stop, best trick competition. This is about pushing the limits of creativity and possibility. With a live DJ to keep the energy going, you'll see the best jugglers in the world pull off their most incredible, insane, cutting-edge tricks — or crash and burn. 

For more info visit xjuggling.com or contact organizer Jack Kalvan at . XJuggling is scheduled for 3:00 pm Friday.

North American Kendama Open

A proud tradition that started in Winston-Salem in 2009 will continue in Rochester when the third annual North American Kendama Open takes the stage under the hilarious and expert oversight of kendama sensei Matt Hall! 

Matt will supervise this fast-paced competition, which pits kendama experts from around the world in tests of speed, dexterity and creativity using the centuries-old Japanese toy. There will be two parts to the event: Speed Trick and Best Trick. Prizes include cool kendama props directly from Japan! Come to compete or just watch in stupefied amazement — either way, it will be a blast!

Individual Prop Competition

The goal of this competition is to demonstrate technique, presentation and originality in a 2-minute routine based upon a single juggling prop. Cash prizes of at least $100 per category will be offered for the best routine in each category.The categories are: 3 balls, 3 clubs, 3 rings, 1 diabolo and alternate props (this category is for cigar boxes, devil sticks, invented props, etc.).

How to Enter: You may enter on or before the day of the event through the sign-up sheet at the IJA table in the gym. Mandatory competitor check-in and briefing begins at 2:00 pm Thursday at the competition location.

If you wish to have your own music used in the IJA’s festival videos of the event, it must be a royalty-free track and you should submit the details of the music being used to IPC Director Michael Karas before you perform. Please bring your music on an audio CD, not an iPod or MP3 track. See the IJA Music Policy for details on what you need to know about your music.

The entry fee is $10 per competitor per category entered. Prize money will be announced at the festival.

For more information, ask for Individual Prop Competition Director Michael Karas at the IJA table.


For the first time in years, the IJA is planning a parade through downtown! Join in the fun as we march and juggle our way through downtown on Saturday morning, kicking off about 10:30 from the Civic Center. Stay tuned for details, but bring your funny pants, stilts, unicycle, rollerblades, trick bike and goofy hat to add to the spectacle for the local community in the IJA parade!

IJA Band

Bruce Plott is organizing the IJA Band, and the band will be leading off the IJA Parade Saturday morning. If you want to play, please bring your instrument(s) to the festival and drop Bruce a line at .

Jugglers’ Lounge

Check out the new IJA Jugglers’ Lounge, a new feature being added to the 2011 festival through the generous support of a donor and the IJA “Fun Fund.” Video games, board games, comfy couches and chairs, and even some big-screen TVs provide a cool space to meet and relax all week long...a perfect spot to rest between passing sessions!

IJA History Lounge

IJA Life Member Paul Bachman will once again have an amazing display of historical IJA memorabilia, posters, mementos, videos, magazines and other juggling archive material of significance on display all week in the IJA History Lounge. Come by and see his vast collection of items documenting decades of jugglers, the art and sport of juggling, and other artifacts from our Association’s proud history. The History Lounge will be open every day from 10:00 to 5:00 pm.

Planting the Juggling Seed

On Thursday at 1pm, downtown Rochester will fill with thousands of local kids and adults for the city’s weekly “Thursdays on First” event -- a four-block long street festival of music, food, live entertainers and fun. And this year, it’s the perfect setting for the IJA’s Planting the Juggling Seed event, an opportunity to introduce the magic of the manipulative arts on stage in the midst of the Thursdays on First excitement.

Interested in performing, teaching or helping out? Contact organizers Kim Laird and Rob Barowski at .

Club Renegade

The late-night “anything goes” show that’s long been a tradition at IJA festivals going back more than two decades will continue in Rochester, with three nights of Club Renegade on the schedule.

Produced and emceed by Steven “Steven Weven” Dimon, the Club Renegade stage gives all kinds of jugglers a place to break out their most outrageous tricks, stunts or other not-ready-for-public-performance acts in an open-mike nightclub setting. 

Sometimes astonishing, usually memorable and always unpredictable, Club Renegade is where you just might see something you’ll never, ever see again -- or be able to explain when you get home!

Club Renegade is scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in the Auditorium theater, with the first act hitting the stage about 11:00 pm. Beer, wine, soft drinks and late-night bar food will be available for sale before and during the show. A reminder to parents: Club Renegade may not be suitable for younger jugglers.

To sign up to perform or help out with crew at Club Renegade, contact Steven at

Fire Nights

Get your flame on with specially-designated fire-safe spaces at the Civic Center for fire props, with professional staff on hand to keep everyone safe. Slated for Tuesday and Wednesday nights after the evening shows and before Club Renegade. Contact Jim Maxwell for details at .

The Gauntlet

Another new feature for the 2011 festival, The Gauntlet will be an incredible obstacle course for jugglers, constructed on-site inside the Civic Center and open all week for informal fun and possibly the first-ever IJA Gauntlet Challenge competition.

Busking Competition

Watch for more details coming soon on the new Busking Competition, with prize money for the top street performers showing off their best stuff in a head-to-head judged competition. More than $2,000 in prize money will be up for grabs!

Games of the IJA

Saturday’s action in the gym will be centered on the fun and crazy juggling events that are part of the Games of the IJA. Wild competitions and all manner of stunt juggling skills will be part of the Games, always a festival favorite. Watch or join in on any or all of the dozen-plus events scheduled for the Games, starting about 11:00 am on Saturday in the gym.

Annual Business Meeting & Election

The annual IJA business meeting will be Wednesday at 2:00 pm. Hear about and discuss how your Association is run, and meet the candidates running for the Board of Directors. Voting for the Board of Directors takes place the same day; watch your JUGGLE magazine for details.


The IJA’s annual week-long festival is a mammoth undertaking for our volunteer-run organization, and making the week a success depends on dozens of volunteers to help out by donating their time and effort during the week. 

If you can offer to help a little or a lot, from one hour during the week to several, please volunteer. You’ll help make the festival fun for everyone, and your effort will be valued and recognized by your fellow jugglers. And chances are, you’ll leave town with a special gift given only to IJA festival volunteers!

Volunteers are needed for a wide range of positions including gym door checkers, IJA ambassadors, ticket assistants, IJA table staff, registration assistants, T-shirt sales, backstage show assistants, errand runners, courtesy drivers for our VIPs, and election tellers. Some volunteer positions earn a full or partial complimentary festival package in exchange for your hard work! 

If you can pitch in, even for just a couple of hours during the week, please see the Volunteers page of the IJA Web site or email IJA Festival Volunteer Coordinator Dina Scharnhorst at . THANKS!

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