The Renaissance Jamboree, Bloomsburg’s annual one-day street fair celebrates its 34th year this month. On Saturday April 28th the festival will stretch for 8 blocks along 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 Bloomsburg University’s Block Party. As a result, the Jamboree never became part of the lexicon handed down from class to class. But as many students are discovering the Town itself can host an amazing 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 4 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 festival.
One of several student groups that participate yearly, the PCM has a table at the Jamboree where they sell drinks, host a game, and do face painting.
“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. 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 Renaissance, and also understands the history behind the springtime event.
According to Gilliland, Renaissance 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 meat 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.
Applications and guidelines for art and craft vendors can be found at the Renaissance Jamboree website.
[box type=”bio”]By Bloomsburg University Student Matt Nason with contributions by Danielle Columbo and Mercedes Smith.[/box]