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Global bonds building over hobby: Juggling festival bringing hundreds to Green Bay

More than 500 people expected for 77th International Juggler's Association festival.
Posted at 7:34 PM, Jul 09, 2024

GREEN BAY (NBC26) — The International Jugglers Association festival returns for its 77th year — this time in Green Bay.

  • Video shows hundreds of skilled jugglers at Green Bay's KI Convention Center for IJA's annual festival.
  • Organizers say they expect anywhere from 500 to 700 people participating in this week's events.
  • People from around the globe have made the trip for this year's 77th year.
  • Click here for details about the event.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

"Best hobby I ever had," Matt Hall, a juggling enthusiast, said.

Hall is a high school teacher in California but today he joins hundreds in Green Bay to celebrate their favorite hobby.

"I taught myself when I was 27 and six years later I had the silver medal and a couple years after that I was instructing at Cirque Du Soleil," Hall said.

The International Jugglers Association (IJA) was created in 1947 and has since grown its global name, bringing out people from almost every continent.

Travelers from as far as New Zealand were in attendance.

"Juggling allows you that space to fail because you can't have juggling without failure," Afton Benson, an event coordinator, said.

Benson works alongside Noel Yee, another event coordinator, to help put on these events.

They says they have been working together since 2018. Both say people of all ages have come out to juggle and build bonds.

"Being around for 77 years has gotten IJA's name out and I think people from all over come as hobbyist or as competitors in our stage competitions which are happening on Wednesday," Yee said.

Aside come from competitions, there will also be public performances, workshops and games all throughout the week.

"Juggling is very much like surfing, it's a way of life almost and the only way you're doing it wrong is if you're not having fun," Hall said.

The event will host its much anticipated Cascade of Stars show on Saturday night to close the festive week.

Click here for more information on this week's events.