Santa Barbara Jugglers Association
Club Juggling at UCSB

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The Annual Isla Vista Jugglers Festival

The Isla Vista Jugglers Festival has been going on for a while now... since 1977. Rumor has it that it is the longest running jugglers festival held at a single location. The festival is held in memory of Patty Laney, a local activist and juggler who, tragically, became a victim of violence towards women. This is why all the profit made from the sale of T-shirts and public show tickets go to the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. Click here for an article describing the atmosphere in Isla Vista in those days of yore.

Click here for information on the upcoming festival.


Why inside a gym? And why (usually) Easter Weekend?

The Short Answer

The gym provides a single location where the festival can be set up and left for the entire weekend. This makes it a lot less work for the organizers and vendors. Less work means fewer burned out organizers. Also, many jugglers appreciate the climatically controlled environment of the gym. This is especially appreciated when the wind is blasting outside, which is usually the case in April in Santa Barbara county. 

Easter Weekend is the only time when the jugglers are usually able to reserve the gym.
Note, however, that the festival has not always been (and will not always be) on Easter weekend.
Always check with us before reserving airplane or hotel reservations!

The Long Answer

Throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's the festival happened at Anisq'Oyo park in Isla Vista. Rain or shine, windy or calm. Usually windy. Many of us remember this era quite fondly.

The festival was eventually moved to Robertson (Rob) Gym, on the UCSB campus. It was held there for many years. It all started one year when it started raining on Saturday morning at Anisq'Oyo park. The festival participants went off to Rob Gym. Our backup location was a small upstairs gym. The festival organizers were left to take down the sound system. By the time they got to the gym, all the jugglers were having their way with the large downstairs basketball gym instead of the tiny side gym that had been reserved. The guy that was working at the gym had tried to get them to move upstairs, but jugglers will be jugglers! We made a quick phone call, and, much to our surprise, had secured the large gym for the entire weekend! This was a revelation to us; the jugglers were always given a low priority for gym space. The only reason that it was possible was that it happened to be Easter Weekend. The festival was held on Easter Weekend for many years after that.

In 2015, the floor at Rob Gym was completely refinished at a hefty cost. UCSB would no longer let Rob Gym be subjected to the gruelling punishment of light plastic props dropping on the delicate gym floor. Once again we were surprised at the availability of a fantastic venue, the Multi-Activity Court, or MAC. The MAC was designed for floor hockey. The relatively soft surface is perfect for juggling, as well as unicycling and all manner of skating. Whoo hoo!

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