This year's Ferdinand Folk Festival will feature aerial performers from Louisville's Turners Circus! From a freestanding rig positioned near the merch tent and main lawn, performers of all ages and skill levels will provide ambiance performances, taking turns on aerial fabric (silk), static trapeze, hoop (lyra), rope, and Spanish web. Throughout the park, ground performers will also provide juggling, hoop, poi, unicycling, stilts, acro, or other entertainment for visual, artistic appeal.
Specializing in gymnastic classes, aerial performances and more, Turners Circus has a rich tradition with an established repertoire of some of the finest circus arts entertainers and instructors in the Louisville area. Their motto "Sound Mind, Sound Body" supports health and wellness, a prominent theme of the festival.
Founded in the US by German immigrants in 1848 (Ferdinand was founded in 1840 by Rev. Joseph Kundek and also settled by German immigrants), American Turners now number over 60 organizations nationwide. The term “turner” comes from the German word “Turnen”, meaning gymnastic exercise. Louisville Turners organized the city's first gymnasium on Market Street in 1849. The organization struggled through the 1850s from anti-immigrant sentiment prevalent throughout the country. In 1860 Turner Hall burned to the ground, but through the dedication and resilience of its members, Louisville Turners survived. Many American Turners members served in the Civil War and in the service of the United States in every war since that time.
By 1890 the Louisville Turnverein or Gymnastic Club was on the mend and an important presence in Louisville. In 1911, the club purchased property along the Ohio River, now known as Turner Park, and in 1917, Louisville Turners, led by a group of prominent local businessmen, purchased the old Brandeis Home at Floyd and Broadway for a new Turner Hall and soon added a gym.
The first "Turner Circus" was held in 1941, displaying gymnastic skills of Turner members of all ages. The downtown Turner Hall was used for winter activities until it was sold in 1984. In 1987 authorities constructed in Turner Park a new multipurpose building dedicated to the memory of Joseph Weismueller, who served as gymnastics instructor for 54 years.
Louisville Turners has survived and today thrives through the dedication and determination of its members. The organization continues to be one of the most recognized and respected clubs in the area. Unique to Louisville, Turners is the only gymnastic center that offers a fully equipped aerial program. If one's dreams were ever to be in Cirque Du Soeil or just try something different to get in shape, their aerial classes and workshops are the perfect opportunity.
Turners was founded on the principles of improving our democracy by promoting freedom and equality for all humanity, health and physical education, cultural education, and rational thinking--in order to advance the health, happiness and progress of humankind. It emphasizes intellectual, cultural growth, and moral character through special classes under qualified and competent instructors. It recognizes the family's integral role and the harmonious education of the body and mind as the foundation of our communities.
For more information, visit http://www.louisvilleturners.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/turnerscircus/. Also visit http://www.ferdinandfolkfestival.com/ often in the coming weeks for exciting updates.