Go, See, Do: Lawrence Busker Festival, Art Tougeau parade and more

Acrobatic juggler and street performer Cate Flaherty, known as Cate Great, juggles a few balls as she starts her performance during the first night of the annual Lawrence Busker Festival in downtown Lawrence, May 27, 2016.

Acrobats, sword swallowers, magicians and comedians will fill downtown Lawrence on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the 12th annual Lawrence Busker Festival — and, for the first time in the event’s history, all the performers will be female.

Busker Martika Daniels, whose act includes hula hooping with barbed wire, fire breathing and walking on glass, anticipates that this weekend’s festival will have a more relaxed, uplifting feeling than an event with male performers would.

“It’s so different with men in the room, one-upping each other,” Daniels told the Journal-World by phone on Thursday.

The fact that some of the buskers already know one another figures to add to the friendly atmosphere. On Thursday morning, several of the performers were catching up over breakfast at Ladybird Diner. Comedian Sharon Mahoney had flown in from Victoria, Canada, while acrobatic juggler Cate Flaherty, magician Felice Ling, gymnast Molly Keczan and hula-hoop performer Sarah Kunz had arrived from Boston.

photo by: Kathy Hanks

Lawrence Busker Festival performers, from left, Cate Flaherty, Sharon Mahoney, Felice Ling, Molly Keczan and Sarah Kunz have breakfast Thursday, May 23, 2019, at Ladybird Diner. The performers run into each other at busker events around the world.

The five women are already friends, and they see one another at festivals and events around the world. Some of them have performed in Lawrence before.

“Lawrence is a great community that comes out year after year to see the show,” Keczan said.

Shows begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and run through Sunday evening. A schedule of the weekend’s events is available at lawrencebuskerfest.com.

With thunderstorms and rain in the forecast throughout the weekend, organizers have plans for the acts to move indoors to the Lawrence Arts Center, the Granada, and the Greenhouse Cafe if it is raining, said Richard Renner, one of the event organizers.

The Audio-Reader Network has partnered with the Busker Festival to provide an audio description of the performances for festivalgoers with visual impairments. From 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, the Audio-Reader tent near the front door of the Lawrence Arts Center will have headsets for visitors to check out. For more details, go to reader.ku.edu/buskerfest.

Art Tougeau Parade

photo by: Journal-World File Photo

Decorated cars and bikes lined up near the Lawrence Arts Center on Saturday, May 30, 2015, during the annual Art Tougeau Parade in downtown Lawrence. The 2019 parade begins at noon Saturday, May 26.

Get ready to watch an assortment of wacky cars, bikes and more roll down Massachusetts Street during Saturday’s Art Tougeau Parade. The annual spectacle, which describes itself as “Lawrence’s own wheeled art parade” on its Facebook page, is open to wheeled vehicles of all kinds and has been a local institution for the last 20 years, said Ben Ahlvers, exhibition program director at the Lawrence Arts Center and an Art Tougeau board member.

The parade starts at noon Saturday in front of the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St., then heads south to 11th Street, wraps around to Massachusetts Street, goes north to Seventh Street and then returns to the Arts Center.

Memorial Day 5K Home Run

photo by: Contributed photo

Runners take part in a previous Memorial Day 5K Home Run. The 2019 event will begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 27, at South Park, 1141 Massachusetts St.

Start Memorial Day off by running for a good cause at Family Promise of Lawrence’s annual Memorial Day 5K Home Run.

The event starts Monday morning at South Park, 1141 Massachusetts St. Kristin Montgomery, director of development with Family Promise, told the Journal-World by phone that the run is open to all racers, joggers and walkers, and participants may bring children in strollers or dogs on leashes. There will also be music, bounce houses and other children’s activities will be on-site.

The entry fee is $30 for individuals and $25 per person for a team of four or more. All proceeds go to support Family Promise, which helps homeless families find permanent housing.

Participants can register online at lawrencefamilypromise.org or the day of the race at 7 a.m., and the race itself starts at 8:30 a.m.


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