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Holy Crap! Busker Fest Preview Takes Over Pearson. For Passengers, it was a Fun Day To Fly

The buskers are coming, the buskers are coming! Imagine this: You’ve just gotten off a long flight (or are just about to get on one) and a joyful woman on stilts, clad in blue flowing garments, yells hello.

You can either stay in your grumpy-place and quickly run and hail a cab, or you can stop for a moment, and take in all the hysterical theatrics that were #PearsonBuskerFest yesterday, set against the dramatic high ceilings of Toronto Pearson International Airport. So what do you do? Well, I for one, stopped the heck out of myself, and the photos will prove it!

Scotiabank Busker Fest takes place this weekend, and proceeds raised will benefit Epilepsy Toronto. Pearson is getting in on the giving: next time you fly, “Check in for Charity” on Facebook or 4square with your mobile phone, and Pearson will donate $1 to Epilepsy Toronto.

#PearsonBuskerFest was a trip around the World and a taste of what’s to come, and the talent was incredible. If this is a taste, imagine the whole meal! It brought mystery and cheer to a place that’s usually just a commuter corridor. Our guide on stilts, Lindsay Stephens (Toronto), led us around from place to place. We were wowed first by the fantastic Dream State Circus (Australia/UK), a juggling couple in neon green who worked cheeky comedy into their acrobatic act. I was mesmerized by contact juggler, mime and living statue Dawn Dreams (Vancouver), all in gold from face to feet and working a crystal ball around her body to create the effect of it floating in the air. Magical! Ventriloquist, sword swallower, magician and occasional pick-pocket, the feisty young lad Jack Wise (Ireland) kept terminals full of soon-to-be flyers laughing and in shock with his illusions. And with quite the felatious finale. How…did he swallow that balloon? I will never want to know.

And then…suddenly…THE BIRDS! THE BIRDS! OMG! It was like a picnic gone wrong! A flock of seagulls (without the bad hair) came squeaking out of nowhere, playfully pecking and flapping around. I enjoyed watching it all go down, but I tried to avoid them by standing off on the sidelines, tweeting (pun not intended). No such luck. At one point I feel something tugging at my purse…I nonchalantly swat to the side only to land my hand directly on the thing’s beak. It then chased me around the room, affectionately. But it was hysterical and I’m a good sport, and I BEG someone to commission The Surreal McCoy Seagulls (Australia/Quebec) to wander around Toronto’s lakeshore, galloping towards children and tourists. Or get them at the next lavish fundraising gala PRONTO. Powerball? AGO Massive? Funniest ever.

I snuck away from the birds in one piece to catch the grand finale, where Chris Lashua of Cirque Mechanics (USA) defied sudden death via concrete floor before our very eyes. He went zooming around a mile a minute in this large metal wheel contraption that seemed to be built for him to slither and slide around while it was spinning. “The German Wheel,” all the way from Cirque du Soleil to Terminal 1 on a Monday afternoon. Madness! Pancho Libre (Mexico) ended things off, with charismatic Fransisco Sandoval combining martial arts with acrobatics to reach great heights and show insane feats of strength. He shimmied up a tall pole upside down, like a monkey on speed! Enough said.

So now to the important facts. Want more? Grab a date and cartwheel down to what will surely be a jaw-dropping good time. Scotiabank Busker Fest is this Thursday, August 23rd – Sunday, August 26th in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood. Admission is a charitable donation which goes to support organization Epilepsy Toronto.

Download the app and check Busker Fest on TwitterFacebook and YouTube.

Busker Fest hours
Thursday Aug 23 – Noon – 10pm
Friday Aug 24 – Noon – 11pm
Saturday Aug 25 – 11am – 11pm
Sunday Aug 26 – 11am – 8pm

~ Becca Lemire

Photos by Becca Lemire (Click to Enlarge)

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