The Hanson Family Jugglers brought their unique talents and skills to entertain the crowd at the Tahlequah Public Library Summer Reading Program Tuesday morning.
This was the final Tuesday event for the summer, and the last week to turn in SRP logs. It is also the season before the Hanson family kids set off on new adventures while mom and dad continue with "Hanson Shows."
The Hanson family of Kanawha, Iowa, includes dad Mark and mom Christa F. Hanson, and their five children: Christa B., Anna, Matthew, Luke, and Caleb. Three of the children performed with their parents in Tahlequah: Christa B., 24, who is getting married; and Luke, 19, and Caleb, 15, who will begin their electrician apprenticeships.
"This is our sixth year on the road. We're in Oklahoma for two weeks. It's our first time doing Oklahoma and it's lovely," said Mark.
This summer, the Hanson Family Jugglers will perform 110 library shows, as well as a few festivals. Hauling unicycles, juggling pins, and other props, the family also shares lessons about learning new things and never giving up.
"The title of it is 'Reach for the Stars,' and it shows how we learned things we thought were impossible," said Mark. "We're not trying to inspire them to do unicycle or such, but to do something, whether is music or math - something more than sitting there playing video games."
"Christa B." was 7 years old when she became determined to learn how to ride a unicycle. She kept practicing and joined a unicycle club.
"Once it got easier, it got a little fun. It took me a lot of work to learn every single trick," said Christa.
Although she had never performed in front of a crowd, at age 8, she entered and won a national unicycle competition.
"You don't have to be naturally talented. Just keep practicing," she encouraged the children.
She said that as the tricks got harder, it took longer to master them. "Wheel walking" took three years to learn, but it is now one of her favorites. One trick she thought was impossible - jump roping while on the unicycle - took her 10 years to learn. Two weeks ago, she set a new Guinness World Record for jump roping on the tallest unicycle yet: 9 foot, 6 inches.
That same day in Iowa, her mother and father broke two other Guinness World Records. Mark was already a two-time record holder for speed juggling, but he broke the one for most juggling catches using three balls in three minutes. Christa Faye had set the World Record for the largest paper snowflake in 2012, and she broke that with one measuring 20 feet in diameter.
To give the active performers a quick break, "Christa F." brought out books about things that seem hard to learn: "Planting the Trees in Kenya" and "Radio Rescue."
Her husband said that one way to learn something is to read a book or ask for help and follow instructions.
Another way to learn a new skill or trick is to never give up.
Mark began to learn to juggle in 1970 when he was 16 years old and saw a professional juggler on TV.
"I wanted to learn more, so I went to the library to check out books. I like to read and teach myself. The library is full of books to teach you things," he told the children. "As I started practicing, it got easier. As it got easier, it got more fun. As it was more fun, I practiced more."
Mark did some juggling routines with a lot of comedy, especially when Christa F. got in the mix with scarves.
"Balls can be heavy and fall fast. Learn to juggle with scarves," Mark said.
Four of the Hansons came together at the end of the show for a finale act, one which they have performed at Harlem Globetrotter and other halftime shows.
Once the juggling pins stopped flying and unicycle wheels stopped spinning, the family members helped audience members learn how to spin plates on dowels or fingers, juggle scarves, and other tricks.
Youths will fill the Carnegie Room Wednesday at 3 p.m. to hear storyteller Gayle Ross for the Teen Summer Reading Program. The last Come and Go Craft program is Thursday 9:30-11:30 a.m. Events area already set for three Mondays in July.