We arrived at Three Sisters Park, unaccustomed to the emptiness. We have been there so many times for Summer Camp, it was odd to visit our Memorial Day weekend home without the bustle created by thousands of people. Once we parked and ventured into the woods it seemed almost surreal to walk down the familiar paths sans all the tents. It was extremely beautiful and peaceful, the park was lusciously and vibrantly green.
We emerged from the path in the woods to a more open area that was still shaded by scattered trees. A little ways ahead we saw a group of people practicing poi. As we approached them it was a class for partner poi. We sat a few feet away and watched for a while. A little farther away to the right there was a group of people learning partner yoga.
Each class took place in a designated area of the park. And each area was themed according to the elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Spirit, Roots.
I am an aspiring hooper and was looking forward to taking some classes myself. To be completely honest I was a little intimidated at first; and although there were many advanced hoopers, there were also many beginners. Everyone was so friendly that any worry dissipated within no time. In less than an hour we had befriended various people. Suzanne’s beginner whoop class began and I joined in for a while. It was a little too hot to really get into it, but there’s nothing like hooping among the trees on a beautiful summer day.
We then ventured over to the Fire Station to get a glimpse of the Buugeng (pronounced “boo – gang”). Kyle was there teaching, I had checked out this art online before heading to Spark and was anxious to see it in real life. He was really nice and a great teacher. If you’re interested, like all the art you see at Spark it takes time and patience. From there we went to check out a class I couldn’t miss, “Fire Weapons Training: How to Act Like a Martial Artist and Kill Everyone.” There was a break and we went to get some dinner and cool off. We returned that evening for the fire and flow jam at the red barn.
Behind the barn a large area was sectioned off with tiki torches. There a DJ booth at the farther end blaring music that resounded throughout the woods. Within the sectioned off area there were people performing various fire arts, such as poi and staff. We sat on the lawn close enough to see the performers. There were various groups around us just hanging out and people practicing with LED hoops and poi. We stayed and hung out well into the night, and when we left for bed at around 1am, many people were still going strong. It was a great time and I was looking forward to the next day.
Saturday began with an enormous storm. The sky was pitch black, the wind scratched violently and the rain pounded down. Branches were being snapped off trees like toothpicks and so campers were evacuated from their tents for safety reasons. Surprisingly as fast as the storm came and as terrible as it was, by the early afternoon it was gone and the sun came out; soon enough it was a beautiful day.
The storm had done its damage however and so all the classes for the day were moved to the barn. It was actually really awesome to have everyone all together in that smaller space because you could easily observe and interact with others.
I spent some time going around and talking to people and watching different classes. When Olivia’s class “Olivia’s Fancy Bag of Hoop Tricks” began I had to partake. She taught us some very cool tricks, some that I already knew but learned other ways of doing them, and others that were completely new to me. It was fun to be surrounded by people all trying to learn the same tricks, encouraging you to try and try again.
We spent the rest of the afternoon talking to more people and learning some really awesome things. I watched people learn things from dart to break dancing, all type of art and performance is welcome and encouraged. Instead of going through everything myself, here’s a summary of the classes and people there through their own words.
Howard Chen demonstrates some martial art moves:
Brian Shank demonstrates whip (you should see him do this while the whip is on fire):
Jenn Rauscher demonstrates some aerial acrobatics:
Rob Hanson gives us an awesome Knife Defense lesson:
Holly Bonser performs an art new to many – Veil Dancing:
That evening they had a fire walk, where anyone could partake and walk on fire. It was a really neat experience and almost ritualistic preparing us for the night of fire performance art. To kick off the night we were in for a special treat, Jannell Justice, an experienced hooper of many years was going to break two world records for biggest fire hoop and fire hoop with most wicks. The biggest fire hoop in the world was 9 feet in diameter, and the fire hoop with the most wicks had a total of fifty – yes thats right 50. It was awesome to be there to witness it, but I got it on video for all of you who couldn’t make it.
50 Wick Hoop:
9 Foot Hoop:
There was no better way to kick off the night, and after Jannell’s performances came the Fire Battle! Two people battled it out until one person was the clear winner, then they would remain in the arena and a new challenger would enter. This was just AWESOME, the trip to Three Sister’s Park was worth this alone. Here is the first battle that kicked it off…check it out!
So for all of you who didn’t make it this year, make sure you don’t miss out next year! See you there!!