San Diego

Hula Hoop Pro, ‘Balloon Man,' Fire Jugglers to Perform at Seaport Village's Spring Busker Festival

Step right up: the 11th annual Spring Busker Festival returns to Seaport Village on March 4 and March 5

A hula hoop superstar, a man who can squeeze himself into a giant balloon and fire jugglers all have one thing in common: they’re among the quirky street performers taking center stage this weekend at Seaport Village.

The 11th annual Spring Busker Festival returns to San Diego’s waterfront landmark on Saturday and Sunday, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., a free, outdoor community fest showcasing the weird and mesmerizing talents of buskers, or street performers, from around the nation.

This year’s lineup of professional performers – nine of them in total – is certainly diverse and daring.

It includes Hilla Hula, a hula hoop extraordinaire who sometimes performs her act in Mission Beach and near San Diego Comic-Con International. Hillia can spin anything – from a single hula hoop to many at once.

Then there’s Skip Banks, a San Diego man known to audiences as “The Balloon Man.” In his bit, Banks somehow manages to squeeze himself into a giant balloon.

Other acts include Circus Mafia, a local troupe that performs a variety of sideshow acts, from contortion to juggling, and Fantastic Patrick’s routine, which includes sword and fire juggling, plate spinning and other balancing acts.

The Strength Project, a group that hails from Huntington Beach, California, will produce an act that combines breakdancing, acrobatics and team stunts. The Sara Kunz Circus – all the way from Germany – will include a hula hoop show with all of the bells and whistles including a grand finale featuring a 10-foot “coconut tree” unicycle.

Bringing the laughs will be Extreme Rahim, a San Diego comedian, magician and ventriloquist, as well as stand-up comic and juggler, Sam Malcolm, of Colorado.

Alex Clark, a busker from Los Angeles known for his impressive juggling skills, will return to the Busker Festival to defend his title as the two-time winner of the festival’s “People’s Choice Award.” All of the street performers will showcase their routines throughout the day with hopes of winning over audiences and being named the best of the buskers.

Seaport Village general manager Terry Hall said this unique event is suited for spectators of all ages. The event is free but buskers will be accepting tips, as this is what they do for a living.

When night falls on Saturday, Seaport Village will host an after-hours, 18+ version of the fest – Buskers After Dark, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. This portion of the event includes a DJ spinning tunes, food and drink specials, as well as fire acts, adult humor and high-energy performances.

Parking for the Spring Busker Festival is available in the regular Seaport Villageparking lots, where guests pay $5 for the first three hours with validation from a Seaport Village business and $3 every 30 minutes thereafter.

During the fest, there will also be extra parking available at the nearby Hilton Hotel Bayfront on Park Boulevard. The all-day parking rate there is $10 per car. A free shuttle servie will run during the festival, taking visitors back and forth from the hotel parking lot to Seaport Village. Shuttles will run every 15 minutes from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Seaport Village is also easily accessible via trolley or bus. The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System's Green Line includes a stop at Seaport Village and the UC San Diego Blue Line and Orange Line have stops nearby (American Plaza and Santa Fe Depot, respectively).

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