Lists of performers, sponsors, volunteers, photos, videos and other details of the festival

Winners of the coveted PHIL trophies this year were:

"All-Star Special" - Lisa Komatsubara
"Best All-the-Way" - Joshua Spaugh and Erin Gettelman
"Flipping Phenomenal" - Jasper Murphy

Festival Report by Charles Shapiro

Approximately 200 registered jugglers attended the 46th annual Groundhog Day Jugglers Festival held at the Yaarab Shrine Center February 2-4 2024.

The festival started out fairly quiet but people filed in to register at a reasonable rate, and by 7:30 pm about 50 jugglers were happily practicing and passing clubs in small groups. Much more of the space was available this year because the Shriners have sold the large bleachers which once took up a significant portion of the floor.

Saturday morning things picked up quickly with 70 folks on the floor by 11 am and more than 125 45 minutes later. Much tossing and catching ensued as well as the usual round of hanging out, greeting friends and gossiping.

The Competition kicked off in at 2 pm with the Kelly's Seed and Feed Marching Abominable Band playing a boffo six-song set:

When the Saints go Marching in
Raise your Glass
Bad Guy
Crazy little Thing called Love
Daft Punk Medley
You've got to Change your Evil Ways (Exit)

Due to the new seating arrangement the band split into three columns to march to the stage, providing the audience of about 425 jugglers and members of the public with a good close look at the Abominables (band members) and Despicables (dancers). Around a quarter of the audience raised their hands as first-timers to the festival.

The competition, ably MC ed by Dan Howard, featured six acts. Jasper Murphy took home the 'Flippin' Phenomenal' award with a club routine featuring some goofy dance moves, a 3-club Scorpion Kick, and a long clean run of five-club cascade. Lisa Komatsubara came all the way from New Zealand to claim 'All Star Special', with a simple but well-crafted ball act that went to a long series of 5-ball tricks. Joshua Spaugh and Erin Gettelman, the only team in the competition, took 'Best All the Way' with a tightly choreographed club routine to the classic song 'Something Stupid'. Other standouts included Rodney 'Rod Dama' Ansell with some athletic kendama moves and previous winner Atticus Abraham with a routine which included both a 7-ball juggle and a 5-club juggle.

The floor cleared rapidly after the show, and the workshops ably scheduled by Logan Pearce continued. Fun workshops included 'How to be Innovative with your Prop' (Drew Brown), 'Contact Juggling 101' (Graham Daniel), and 'The Coin Walk' (Andrew Austin), as well as the usual assortment of 'How to Juggle', 'How to Pass Clubs', and other beginning topics.

Spencer Schwab chaired the Juggling Games, where Dan Brown swept both Club and Ball combat. Josh and Erin both took 7-club passing honors with different partners. Long-time winner Jimmy Robertson lost the club balance to 'Flippin' Phenomal' winner Jasper Murphy.

The Late Night Cabaret started at 9 pm, MC ed by Michael Jay Garner and in front of an audience of about 150. Twelve acts performed. Standouts were Uriyah Keith, juggling multiple different props at once, Chuck Clark on a free-stantding ladder and Josh Romeo with a 7-chair high handstand. Austin and Kelley Childs received the Mouse Award for their tireless help with registration, transport and organizational services.

Sunday included more workshops, club passing and hanging out. With the bleachers gone there was plenty more room to run unicycles, hover boards and other arm-breakers indoors. Michael Jay Garner did a cool informal whip workshop out in the courtyard, and the club passing take-out workshop was a stand-out time. The Group Picture was around 3 pm. Many people left early-ish. By around quarter of noon, only 50 people and 4 big club passing groups were in the building.

The post-groundhog dinner was at Manuel's Tavern in the back room, with about 25 people in attendance. Richard Kennison luckily got to stay for it this year. Around 6 pm we all staggered back to our day lives.

group photo