The 34th annual Bloomsburg Renaissance Jamboree is taking place on Saturday April 28. This one-day street fair that stretches for 8 blocks through downtown Main Street hosting over 100 art, craft and food vendors, artists, musicians, local businesses and non-profit groups — plus games, children’s entertainment, folk dancing from around the world, a martial arts demonstration, and even a high flying trampoline performance by Flippenout.
In past years, the Jamboree sometimes fell on the same weekend as Block Party. As a result, the Jamboree never became part of that lexicon of gossip handed down from class to class. This year however, it will be the weekend after Block Party.
“I saw a few posters about it around campus but never really paid much attention to it,” said Lauren Grose, a sophomore at Bloomsburg University. “Is it during Block Party weekend? If so, that’s probably why. It seems like more of a community event than student event.”
Grose’s opinion is shared by other students, such as BU senior Tanira Perkins.
“They don’t promote the event the way they promote others,” said Perkins. “I’ve been here four years and I’ve never heard of it once.”
While there seems to be many individual students that are not aware of the Renaissance Jamboree, there are a number of student groups and organizations that get involved. The Community Government Association (CGA), Protestant Campus Ministries (PCM), and several student service organizations such as Kappa Kappa Psi and Alpha Phi Omega are registered for this year’s Jamboree.
“Who doesn’t need an hour or two break?” said PCM Campus Minister Maggie Gillespie on the subject of studying for finals.
Gillespie said the Jamboree benefits the Bloomsburg community and is “an outlet for our local talent.”
“I have always loved it so much as a member of the community,” Gillespie said. “It’s a fun thing to be a part of!”
Jimmy Gilliland, Director of Student Activities at BU since 1983, works with student groups involved with the Jamboree, and also understands the history behind the springtime event.
According to Gilliland, the Jamboree began as a celebration to commemorate the “rebirth” of Bloomsburg in 1978 when trees were planted along Main Street. While many people think of swordplay and sorcery when they think of “renaissance,” the Bloomsburg version is really about the metaphorical rebirth of the town.
“Honestly, it’s a fun street fair,” said Gilliland, pointing out that “there will be lots of fair food, which students seem to enjoy,” like fried Twinkies, cotton candy, barbequed meats and the many other staples of the standard American street fair.
Returning by request, the Lehigh Valley band Joyous will perform again this year, covering hits from every decade of the 20th century.
For more information such as applications and guidelines for arts and crafts vendors can be found at www.bloomsburgpa.org/renaissance/index.htm.
Contributing writers: Danielle Columbo and Mercedes Smith