Jest Fest! Features The Flying Wallendas, Avner the Eccentric and Other World Famous Entertainers


Surely you jest? No, it's true! Jest Fest!, a free, fun, family-friendly event produced by the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, returns Sunday, April 9 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Historic Thomas Center and Gardens. Now in its fifth season, Jest Fest! features a stellar lineup of international stars, performing some of the world's greatest comedy/variety and circus acts on five stages. There are even more roving entertainers, food and merchandise vendors and kids' activities located throughout the gardens.

Headliners returning this year to Jest Fest! include The World Famous Flying Wallendas, performing daring feats on the high wire; silent clown Avner the Eccentric, star of Broadway and feature films (played the Jewel in "The Jewel of the Nile"); and mime, juggler and magician, Arsene Dupin from Paris who trained with the legendary Marcel Marceau.

New acts for 2017 include noted sword swallower/magician Johnny Fox, comedy stilt show Allez-OOPS and a production of The Ruder Mechanicals, a comedy spoof drawn from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" created by Thieves Guild Productions. The Thieves Guild is perhaps best known locally for its living chessboard shows at the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire.

Also new this year is a Gainesville Fine Arts Association (GFAA) art show. GFAA has partnered with Jest Fest! to bring many of its artist members to show and sell their works at the festival. In addition, there will be plein air painters, who will create new works of art in the festival gardens while the public watches.

In addition, Jest Fest! is proud to partner with and showcase some of our area's finest non-profit arts and social services organizations by providing free booth space and cross promotions with these important groups. All Jest Fest! attendees are encouraged to take the time to visit with these wonderful organizations, and find out more about their excellent programs and services.