Jugglers Convention in Springfield Projects Economic Impact of More Than $1 Million
SPRINGFIELD — With 600 juggling enthusiasts from all over the world coming to Springfield July 17-22 for the 71st International Jugglers’ Assoc. (IJA) Annual Festival, expect to see plenty of exciting sights on the city streets. Meanwhile, the area’s hoteliers, restaurateurs, and retailers are expecting to see excitement in their cash registers. That’s because the six-day convention is projected to have an economic impact of $1,015,545, according to the Western Mass Sports Commission, a division of the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“We are absolutely delighted to host an international event like the IJA for 2018,” said Mary Kay Wydra, president of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB). “The organizers are expecting 600 attendees, and two of our largest downtown hotels have 1,100 room-nights booked as a result. This represents a strong economic shot in the arm for these properties. And we anticipate upbeat business at area eateries and shops as well. It’s a fun, terrific event to have coming into Western Mass.”
The IJA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting jugglers, and is run by an all-volunteer staff. Its membership roster includes professional and hobbyist jugglers from five continents. As part of its multi-day festival, several public events will be held. The Welcome To The Juggle Show, slated for today, July 17, at 8 p.m. at Symphony Hall, features talent and humor from American and international performers. The Cascade of Stars (Saturday, July 21, at 8 p.m. at Symphony Hall) is a highlight of the IJA festival. This performance showcases top-notch juggling and circus talent from around the world.
“The Cascade of Stars is the final theater show of the festival, and I want to mention that it will be a fabulous night of family entertainment,” Wydra said. General-admission tickets are available through the Symphony Hall box office at (413) 788-7033. Massachusetts residents receive 20% off tickets to all shows.
Other opportunities to view world-class jugglers in action include:
• International Youth Juggling Championship & Showcase on Wednesday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Symphony Hall. This prestigious stage competition is open to competitors under 18 years old.
• The Renegade Show on Wednesday and Thursday, July 18-19, starting at 11 p.m. at Theodores’ on Worthington Street in Springfield. Admission is free.
•International Team and Individual Juggling Championships on Thursday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Symphony Hall. This prestigious international competition features top-level entertainment and offers medals and prize money for juggling performances.
• Appearances at the Downtown Farmer’s Market at TowerSquare Park in Springfield on Friday, July 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
• Numbers Championships on Friday, July 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the MassMutual Center. This is a competition to see who can successfully juggle, individually and in teams, the greatest numbers of balls, clubs, rings, and bounced balls.
• Joggling. On Saturday, July 21, from 8 a.m. to noon, jugglers will jog around the Springfield College track while juggling.
MassMutual Center’s Exhibition Hall will be open 24 hours a day during the festival for practice.