The second annual three day New York City Unicycle Festival
took place over the Labor Day weekend. This years festival organized and produced by by the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus
turned out to be a well attended success. The festival began with a contingent of 57 unicyclist with unicycles of various sizes and colors, including one made up to look like a sea horse, making the trek over the Brooklyn Bridge. The day was officially proclaimed by Brooklyn's Borough President, Marty Markowitz
as "Brooklyn Unicycle Day".
About 40 or so riders continued on riding through Brooklyn briefly stopping at Grand Army Plaza and the south end of Prospect Park finally ending up in Coney Island where we met up with participants that decided to get there via other forms of transportation. We had two adventurous 11 year old riders that traveled the entire 13 mile distance from the Manhattan side of the bridge to Coney Island on their unicycles. These two young men actually out paced many of the more experienced unicyclist throughout the ride. Many of the out paced rides were riding on wheels larger than the 20" and 24" size wheels on their respective unicycles of the young riders.
[caption id="attachment_1551" align="aligncenter" width="346" caption="Photo courtesy of Norman Blake"]
At Coney Island after hanging out at Nathan's Famous
, riders were rewarded with a ride on Deno's Wonder Wheel
followed by participation in a unicycle skills demonstration being accompanied by music on the boardwalk. The first day of the unicycle festival was capped off with an incredible fireworks display out over the water.
Day two of the festival that took place on Governors Island, was chock full of activities. With unicycle tutorials, unicycle hockey, unicycle races and, skill demonstrations there was constant activity throughout the festival area of the island the entire day. Many tried out the outstanding Hell on Wheel unicycle trials course. The demonstrations featured four year old unicycle rider Ziggy Cohen as well as Kyle Petersen (Brooklyn Juggler) and Davd Cox performing comedic juggling acts.
Through out the day there were more than 300 participants with more than 160 unicycles. There were vendors on hand including Unicycle.com and Dubé Juggling Equipment and others. Adam and Renie Cohen of Just One Wheel were directing the tutorial efforts for those that wanted to learn or hone their skills on the unicycle. DJ Sky kept the crowd entertained with music selections throughout the day.
The highlight of the day was the unicycle basketball game between Puerto Rico All Star unicycle basketball team and the King Charles Troupe. It was a competitive, hard fought basketball game. King Charles Troupe trailed early. However, as they adjusted to the international rules of unicycle basketball, they climbed back in the game only to be edged out in the end by the Puerto Rico All Stars by a single point 37-36.
The King Charles Troupe put on excellent performance of unicycle team based skills such as basketball handling and jumping double dutch.
All available unicyclist lined up and mounted their unicycles in an effort to break a world record of unicyclist mounted and continuously linked. Unfortunately there were not enough participants present to break the world record of 251 unicyclist. Though, this effort was not wasted by the 155 participating unicyclist who set a new New York State record of linked unicyclist.
For the third and final day of this year's festival unicycle activities moved up to Harlem, USA. This is the regular meeting venue of the New York Unicycle club. About 65 unicyclist gathered for a full afternoon of just hanging out trying different and unique unicycles, doing skill demonstrations, practicing skills and unicycle networking.
Throughout the three days I snapped a nice collection of photographs that can be found on the NYUC Flickr site. Photographs of days one and two can be viewed in this photo album slideshow titled: 2011 Uni Fest, Day 1&2. Photographs from the third and final day of the festival can be found in this photo album slideshow titled 2011 UniFest Sunday.
This years festival was such a blast. There is a lot of confidence that this event will continue to grow in the future. There were many who were unable make it to this year's event including many that had attended the first NYC unicycle festival.