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The Journal Gazette

  • Photos by Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Spider-Man, a.k.a. Daniel Watkins of The Summit City Cause-Players, climbs a light pole Saturday at the corner of Wayne and Calhoun streets during BuskerFest.

  • Henry Burk, Henri The Mime, showcases his skills during downtown’s ninth annual BuskerFest.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Ethan Burk, portraying Happy the Clown, blows up a balloon for a customer during BuskerFest in downtown Fort Wayne on Saturday.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Zdenka Ljubic meticulously works on a henna piece on Stefn Wagner’s arm during BuskerFest.

Sunday, July 01, 2018 1:00 am

Celebration of street performers

Thousands drawn to BuskerFest

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

Three Homestead High School musicians decided to set up on the sidewalk Saturday at BuskerFest and play for the downtown crowd.

Senior Jay Moloney was on tuba, sophomore Jennifer Twenge on trombone, and junior Mitchell Corley presided over a full drum set in the middle of Calhoun Street. It was a good two weeks before marching band practice would begin, there was shade in the 90-degree heat and people milled around the street ready to listen.

The ninth annual BuskerFest, a celebration of street performance sponsored by the Downtown Improvement District, had plenty of performers and people to watch them.

Normally, BuskerFest attracts about 9,000 people to Calhoun and Wayne streets, but this year, Lutheran Medical Group held its company picnic at the Indiana Michigan Tower Plaza, bringing an additional 7,000 and 7,500 people to the event, said Bill Brown, DID's executive director.

Rick Zolman, DID's events and programming manager, said by the time BuskerFest closed at 10 p.m., more than 16,000 people were expected to attend.

Two of the big draws this year were Fantastic Patrick, a unicyclist, juggler and comedian from Los Angeles, and Her Majesty's Secret Circus from Vermont.

Chaquis Maliq, a one-woman band from Charleston, South Carolina, sat in the shade watching a band perform as she waited for her slot at 7 p.m.

Even with the intense heat, the weather was hotter and stickier in South Carolina, she said, so she was glad to be back here to perform.

“This place is awesome,” said Moloney, who performed at BuskerFest last year and brought his two bandmates along this year. As they tried to keep their music sheets from flying off their music stands in the welcome breeze, Corley said he preferred Fort Wayne to Atlanta where he had moved from.

“All the local events are great,” Corley said.

And tips were welcome.