What goes up must come down, but that’s all part of the fun as world class jugglers will convene in Rancho Cordova for the Annual Damento Juggling Festival on Feb. 4-6.
Jugglers from around the region will pack their balls, clubs and fire batons and head here for the first time, making Rancho Cordova northern California’s “Juggling Capital” – at least for the weekend.
The event will feature free juggling lessons for kids and adults, plus a juggling exhibition and show, which is open to the public. Concessions will be available.
Free juggling workshops for children and adults will have balls and clubs flying in the air for two and a half days at George Washington Carver School of Arts and Science, located just off Old Placerville Road at 10101 Systems Parkway.
Free workshops start on the hour, every hour, from 10 a.m. until midnight on Saturday and from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday. Experienced jugglers will share their craft with everyone from juggling wannabes to more accomplished performers in what the juggling world calls “The Construction Zone” – a place to build juggling skills.
The highlight will be the Damento Juggling Community Show, set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5. Rancho Cordova Mayor Bob McGarvey will throw out the first club at a show featuring world class jugglers who will be on hand for what organizers are calling “a fantastic show.”
Admission is $6, with children age 3 and under admitted free of charge.
The Damento Juggling Club is a group of juggling enthusiasts from Davis and Sacramento. It is from the two names that “Damento” is drawn. The event is also supported by the Cordova Community Council, which is always on the look-out for fun events for Rancho Cordova, said Shelly Blanchard, executive director.
“They said they heard ‘we make the magic in Rancho Cordova’ and figured it was fit,” she said, a reference to the theme of Rancho Cordova’s winning All-America City rally slogan. “It appears they like to make the magic, too.”
Damento hosted popular juggling events for years, drawing up to 1,000 jugglers and fans. The festival has been on hiatus for the past several years, but is taking on new life in Rancho Cordova and enthusiasm is running high as they rekindle the tradition.
Visitors to the juggling workshops can expect to walk through the door of the auditorium to a room full of flying objects with a friendly juggler ready to share the skills of the art. Children and teens are encouraged to participate, as are adults. All the workshops are free.
“Teaching juggling is a big part of a juggling festival,” said Marcos Hernandez, president of Damento. “The whole northern California juggling community is excited that we are back, and we really love to share what we know.”
But you don’t have to throw anything into the air to attend the Damento Juggling Community Show, which will be hosted by Rick Rubenstein, a professional juggler famous in the juggling world for inventing a signature move that bears his name. While there is a charge for the show, organizers said the performance will be well-worth the price of admission.
Juggling is a worldwide passion, with festivals held around the world and particularly in Europe. Juggling festivals, similar to the event coming to Rancho Cordova, are the backbone of the juggling scene and can attract juggling enthusiasts into the thousands. During juggling festivals, practitioners socialize and gather to share tricks, teach others and generally celebrate their juggling passion.
For their first time out, the Rancho Cordova Juggling Festival is hoping for a few hundred people and a lot of sharing of the art they love, organizers said, but there is room to grow.
Hernandez said jugglers from as far away as Canada and throughout the west are planning to make the trip to Rancho Cordova for the event.
“We hope to see the whole community at the festival and look forward to sharing this fun and inspiring art form with everyone,” he said.