Surely you jest? No, it's true! Jest Fest!, a free, fun, family-friendly event produced by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, returns this spring Sunday, April 10 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Historic Thomas Center and Gardens. Now in its fourth season, Jest Fest! features a stellar lineup of international stars, performing some of the world's greatest comedy/variety and circus acts on four stages. There are even more roving entertainers, food and merchandise vendors and kids' activities located throughout the gardens.
Headliners returning this year to Jest Fest! include The World Famous Flying Wallendas, performing daring feats on the high wire; silent clown Avner the Eccentric, star of Broadway and feature films, (played the Jewel in film "The Jewel of the Nile"); mime, juggler and magician, Arsene from Paris who trained with the legendary Marcel Marceau; and Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus star, Johnny Peers and the Muttvile Comix performing dog show.
New acts for 2016 include Charleston, South Carolina's Piccolo Spoleto Festival veteran magician Howard Blackwell, touring artist Rick Hubbard's Kazoobie Kazoo show, local artists Josh Lederman and George O'Brien performing an exciting revue of puppets, clowning and music and the world premiere of the exciting Flying Carrs flying trapeze show!
The Flying Carrs feature George Caceres and Krizia (Caceres) Carr, troupe members and children of the world-acclaimed Flying Caceres. The Flying Caceres are the only Colombian flying trapeze troupe to have ever been invited to the prestigious International Circus Festival in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The troupe also made history by successfully catching the "quad" during the 140th edition of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Barnum's FUNundrum! in 2010.
In addition, Jest Fest! is proud to partner with and showcase some of our area's finest non-profit arts and social services organizations by providing free booth space and cross promotions with these important groups. All Jest Fest! attendees are encouraged to take the time to visit with these wonderful organizations, and find out more about their excellent programs and services!
Jest Fest! is funded in part by a Tourist Development Tax Grant from the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners, in conjunction with the Alachua County Tourist Development Council and a State of Florida Local Arts Agency grant. Sponsors include McDonald's, Domino's Pizza and PDQ Chicken. The Historic Thomas Center & Gardens is located at 302 NE Sixth Ave., Gainesville, Fla. For more information, or to request an interview, please contact David Ballard at 352-393-8746.