BY MARGARET BARGER
Whether you are shopping, dining or just walking around, Pearl Street has a wonderful array of entertainment for all ages. Street performers in Boulder have come from all around the United States to show off their unique and bizarre talents. Street performers not only present their talents, but speak about their life experiences. Pearl Street allows most types of artistic and musical performance which can include stilts, fire, juggling, slack lines, unicycles, knives, hula hoops, whips, instruments and a multitude of other equipment. For safety purposes, permits are often required but cost nothing and must be approved by Boulder’s Department of Community Vitality. The freedom and acceptance that Boulder gives street performers is what aids to their optimistic and artistic approach on life and the audience that Pearl Street provides is what allows them to make a living through street performance. Without them, Boulder’s infamous Pearl Street would not have the same fascinating culture that we locals know and love.
You will find many different types of Street performers on Pearl Street that range from extremely talented to not-so-talented. Starting at the top, there are street performers that could qualify to be in the renowned Cirque du Soleil. For example, there is one man who can fit his entire body in a two foot by two foot glass box. There is another man who can juggle fiery swords while walking on a tight rope. There are also extremely talented musicians whom range in age and gender. These performers have been on Pearl Street for many years and have perfected their talents. They are recognized by locals and have formed a community in which they feel welcomed and appraised. Their presence is what makes Pearl Street not only a place to shop and dine, but a place to simply enjoy a free concert, circus act or other amazing performance.
Being less popular, we have the next tier down of performers. This group consists of individuals who make fewer appearances on Pearl Street and whose talents are not as bizarre or difficult as the tier above them. For example, you might see a man playing guitar or a girl executing her hula hooping skills. These performers also contribute to the magnificent entertainment on Pearl Street with their musical, artistic or acrobatic talents but are not quite as sought after by wanderers passing by. Nonetheless, with a little practice, this eclectic group might one day be the top tier of street performers on Pearl Street.
Finally, we have the lowest tier of street performers. This group often consists of individuals searching for their hidden talent but who haven’t quite found it yet. This group might include homeless locals or nomads passing through Boulder. This group makes up a large part of the population you might see on Pearl Street each day, whether they are fiddling with an instrument or petting their companion stray dog.
When it comes down to it performers of any level will receive recognition from those passing by because they are all important components to what makes up the energetic, friendly, and extensive culture on Pearl Street.