Street performers crowd downtown Ellensburg during annual Buskers in the Burg

BY DEREK SHUCK, Editor-in-Chief

A fire juggler from Bellingham, trapeze artists from Michigan and even a  magician from Scotland were some of the performers who participated in Ellensburg’s annual Buskers in the Burg street festival, put on by the Ellensburg Downtown Association last weekend.

The festival kicked off with a parade of ten-foot tall puppets designed by Seattle artist, Brian Kooser. The puppets design was diverse, everything from a giant sun, angry cooks and a sea lobster marched in a parade to begin the festivities at 10:00 a.m. down Fourth street.

After the parade ended, many of the puppets continued to walk around the farmers market, interacting with local Ellensburg residents. A child’s yell pierced the normal buzz of the market as a puppet in the shape of a block of cheese chased him in a circle.

After the parade, a variety of buskers took to Fourth street. Some of the acts, including the acrobatic, high-flying Aerial Angels, drew crowds of over 100 spectators.

“Everybody gets to see the show,” said Isabella, of the Angels. “The people who can afford to pay us subsidize the people who can’t.”

The Aerial Angels traveled from Kalamazoo, Mich. to perform in the festival. They also took the time to put on a workshop for aspiring Central performers. For many buskers, a donation from the audience is their only income. However, this is more than enough for many to travel the world, including Scottish magician Figo.

“I get to do what I love,” Figo said of his career choice.

Figo opened the Busker festivities at 11:00 a.m., attracting people with a loud whistle and the promise of comedy, magic and weird body stunts. The magician delivered on all three fronts, swallowing a whole balloon, laying on a bed of nails, and using comedy to encourage the audience to donate.

“Remember kids, if mommy or daddy don’t give you five or ten dollars to give to the funny man, it means mommy or daddy don’t love you.” Vigo said near the end of his act.

But professional street performers weren’t the only buskers participating, some Central students also took the opportunity to showcase their talent.

Hillary Pelley, a resource management graduate student, used her hula hoop skills to impress spectators.

“I love making people happy,” Pelley said.

Although Pelley has only been hula hooping since January, a steady routine of practicing three hours a day has allowed her to become a pro, sometimes using three hoops at the same time in her routine. As the day continued, the weather began to decline, with rain and wind beginning to interfere with the buskers acts. Despite the weather, most decided to keep performing, including sophomore Spanish major Mac Wood.

Wood used a “diabolo,” a type of Chinese yoyo, to attract spectators. Going all out, he also decorated himself in balloons to add to the festivities.

“I love the response I get from the community. Wood said.

The response appeared to be positive, as young children approached him to take photos.

“If someone’s having a bad day, something I might do could cheer them up,” Wood said as the rain began to come down.

Buskers began emigrating to Prosody , located at the corner of Fourth and Ruby street. Inside, other buskers performed including Alex Zerbe, a prop comedian who has appeared on both “America’s Got Talent” and “Last comic Standing.”

With the farmer’s market going on as usual, it was perhaps the only Saturday in Ellensburg where you could buy a peach and watch an escape artist crack a lock from the inside of a giant bubble at the same time.