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Juggling for Juniors at Monmouth County Library

Experienced juggler Mark Kramer taught kids his craft at the Manalapan Library on Thursday evening.

Children and young adults had a ball - and built, threw, and dropped many balls - at a juggling demonstration at the in Manalapan on Thursday, July 7. The fun class was led by Mark Kramer, an experienced juggler whose passion is teaching his talents. 

Kramer has taught juggling at many libraries and park systems in the past, and even ran the New York City and Spring Lake Five marathons while juggling.

"It's a really fun hobby and I've met a lot of cool people because of it," Kramer said. "It's stuff that you can take home with you and do anywhere, and maybe after tonight you'll make it one of your own hobbies."

He impressed the two dozen youngsters in attendance by juggling rings, bowling pins, and machetes. The great thing about juggling, Kramer said, is that it's an inexpensive hobby you can do with just about anything.

Kramer showed participants how to make their own juggling balls with pennies worth of materials. Kids scooped rice, or "magic juggling dust", into plastic sandwich baggies, then cut the ends off balloons and stretched them over the balled up bags. Then they stretched a second balloon of a different color over the first to create a two-colored ball.

Then, the lesson began. At first, participants were told to simply throw one ball from one hand to the other in a consistently high arch, without having to move their hands much in order to make the catch. After some time, they moved on to two balls, throwing the second when the first was at the peak of its arc. Kramer said to get into a rhythm of "throw, throw, catch, catch", which the kids mocked as "throw, throw, drop, drop" until they gradually caught on.

Eventually the lesson progressed to juggling three balls, which took a long time for the learners to get a grasp on, but by the end of the evening some of the participants were able to accumulate ten throws in a row before missing one.

"He's a really good teacher because I didn't understand when I tried to learn from a book," said 13-year-old Rahul Singh from Manalapan, who was able to make an impressive eight throws while juggling three balls, "but I really like the way he taught slowly."

If you missed out on the fun or want to experience it again, you can attend another juggling demonstration on July 13 at the Hazlet Township Branch, on July 14 at the Colts Neck Branch, or on the July 19 at the Marlboro Branch. Shows are between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and you should plan to stay for the full two hours.

Stay tuned to Manalapan Patch or check out the library's Web site to learn about future events there for kids and young adults.

See photos of the event in the gallery above.

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