Lake Norman Magazine

November 6, 2012

Up In The Air

Davidson high school student and juggling phenom takes on the Carolina Renaissance Festival

Giant turkey legs, men in tights, jousting tournaments and other unique entertainment can be found at the 19th annual Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville, which runs through Nov. 18. Among the festival’s 500 costumed characters, Davidson’s own Austin Bruckner will be there, performing his juggling routines and tricks. Bruckner, a junior at Community School of Davidson, says he first tried juggling when he was about 10 during a Lake Norman Parks and Recreation “circus” summer camp. For most kids the activity was just a passing distraction, but Bruckner loved it. Plus, he was a natural. “I really taught myself,” he says. “I could pick up new tricks really well.” Soon he was practicing for hours every day, juggling everything from balls and rings to bowling pins. He joined Lake Norman Jugglers, a group that meets regularly to practice and do tricks. It was through the juggling club Bruckner met Ken Julian of Valdese, and together they formed the performing duo Spin Cycle and started putting on shows around the area. As the two friends continued to improve, they decided to audition for the Carolina Renaissance Festival, which uses a variety of jugglers, acrobats, dancers and other performers. Austin was just 14 when he auditioned and recalls walking into a room with about five judges with plans to run through a carefully orchestrated routine using pins. But before he could even get started, one of the judges pointed to a table filled with random objects and told him to incorporate one into his act. “I totally freaked out,” he says. But Bruckner kept his cool and grabbed a vacuum hose and, while juggling, pretended to harvest wheat, using the hose like a sickle. “They all thought that was super funny and I aced the audition.” Bruckner says juggling has opened other doors for him. He so enjoyed the performance aspect of juggling it inspired him to join the cheerleading squad at Community School of Davidson. He’s also active in a Davidson “parkour” group, a discipline in which members climb, swing, jump and roll through urban landscapes. And he’s gotten into video editing as well since he started a YouTube channel ( to showcase his juggling and parkour skills. “The sky is the limit for this kid,” says Matt Siegel, a spokesman for the Carolina Renaissance Festival. “He has a ton of potential and likely will be a national performer as he continues to mature.”

More Information What: Carolina Renaissance Festival When: Weekends though Nov. 18 Where: 16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville Contact: 704 896-5544 or

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