History of the Waterloo Busker Carnival: 1999 - Year 11

Moving into its 11th year, the Waterloo Busker Carnival kept much of the same formula that was successful through the first 10 years but with a few twists. The Fringe Festival that ran for the past couple of years did not run in 1999. Instead, kickoff was at 5:30pm on August 26th with a Free Community BBQ sponsored by CHYM-FM. Opening Ceremonies started at 6:30pm on the Parkade Pitch Stage followed by a night of buskers. Kidz Day on Friday from 1pm to 4pm featured music, storytelling, face painting, a jungle cat exhibit, kiddie rides, and trampoline acrobatics. The Kidz Area continued right through the next 2 days of the carnival. Again, The Late Night Adult Show was at 11:30pm on Friday and on Sunday the 29th, The Vaudeville Show wrapped up the carnival with a review of all the busker acts.

New this year was the Light UpTown Waterloo event from 8:30pm to 11pm on the Friday night. The citys core was lit up with spotlights and lasers adding a unique setting for an evening of busker entertainment.

The 11th annual carnival featured:

Nick Nickolas, New Zealand - magic, comedy

The Checkerboard Guy, Vancouver - stunts, unicycling, tight rope, juggling, comedy

Connie Leaverton, Texas - comedy, juggling, unicycling

Shirlee Sunflower, Australia - comedy, acrobatics, stunts

Le Pamplemousse, California - circus skills, comedy, hoola hoops

Klassic Komedy Troupe, Hamilton - living statues of historical figures, mime

Silly People, Kitchener - balloon sculpting, comedy

D.J. Carroll, Waterloo - magic, comedy

Jeff Collins, Halifax - magic, circus skills, unicycling, clowning, fire eating

The Flying Dutchmen, Holland - unicycling, juggling, comedy

Tom Comet, Australia - juggling, unicycling, comedy

Alakazam, Australia - contortionist, juggling, comedy

Joe Cobden, Halifax - juggling, magic, fire show

Lee Zimmermann, California - puppetry

Alex Elixir, Vancouver - juggling, rope walking, comedy, improv



Special Notes: This years carnival was hampered by rain on Thursday and an incredibly hot Saturday but as always, the show went on!

The first Waterloo Busker Carnival website was launched in 1999. Below, you will see what the landing page looked like. Content and design was the responsibility of Irene Tyhurst : "Tim (Tyhurst) took care of the server and all the technical stuff. In fact, the server is still in our basement. There were times when we were on holidays and we had to send our neighbour downstairs to reboot the server to get the site back up again." It was eventually replaced by a new website but thankfully, the old website was still sitting on that server. The photos and press have been moved over to the new site and now reside in the Carnivals History section preserved for all time!

The Records Local front cover on Monday, August 30th featured an article by reporter, Eugene McCarthy: "Buskers Delight Local Crowds Performers pleased with response as four-day carnival wraps up" Tom Comet, a busker from Vancouver noted: "The audiences were great. I talked to many people from other centres including Toronto and Guelph and found that the carnival draws a lot of out-of-towners as well as local. They all expressed adequate appreciation financially when the hat is passed." Nick Nicholas of New Zealand said: "Local audiences understand the value of entertainment having been exposed to busker carnivals for a number of years. The average person throws in two or three bucks and Ive seen some throw in five."