Lawrence’s Busker Festival to return this fall after COVID-19 canceled last year’s event

photo by: Ashley Hocking

Comedic performers Maya and Brent McCoy of Her Majesty's Secret Circus perform at the Busker Festival in downtown Lawrence on Friday, May 25, 2018.

Lawrence’s Busker Festival will make a comeback this fall with spinning dinner plates, breakdancers and a puppeteer.

Last year, the Busker Festival was rescheduled, only to ultimately be canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but festival organizer Richard Renner said in a news release that he’s spent the time off organizing the event’s finances, improving marketing and working on his juggling skills.

This year’s festival will take place Sept. 24-26 and will feature over 20 acts on five stages in downtown Lawrence, as well as food vendors and beer from Free State Brewing Company, which is one of the event’s main sponsors.

The festival is free, but people are encouraged to tip the performers, who include magicians, musicians, jugglers and mimes. Festival favorite and Kansas City native Linsey Lindberg, who performs as Mama Lou Strongwoman, will return this fall. She can tear phone books and smash apples with her biceps.

New acts for the fall include puppeteer Lee Zimmerman. Zimmerman is a street puppeteer with a small stage but a big act, according to the news release. Zimmerman’s puppets perform the signature songs of musicians like Jimi Hendrix and David Byrne.

photo by: Contributed Photo

Lee Zimmerman is a puppeteer who performs recreations of rock stars’ signature songs. He will perform at the 2021 Lawrence Busker Festival.

Street performer John Park will also be new to Lawrence’s festival. Park performs a comedic routine dressed as a waiter, and does tricks such as balancing water glasses, spinning plates and shooting marshmallows into people’s mouths. Other acts mentioned in the release include a Western comedy cowboy show and the USA breakdancers, who last appeared at Lawrence’s Busker Festival in 2015.

photo by: Contributed Photo

John Park, who will perform at Lawrence’s 2021 Busker Festival, does a comedic routine as a waiter.

Renner said he thought people would be ready to gather and celebrate with a weekend of weirdness after a year of lockdowns.

“We want to be a part of that party,” he said.

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