Sword swallowers, Fire-walkers and Pogo-stick stuntmen are among the dozens of performers taking to the streets in Lawrence this month for the 5th annual Busker Festival. It’s a chance to enjoy performances ranging from the bizarre to the truly unique. Festival Co-Conspirator (Founder) Richard Renner explains what the party is all about:What is a Busker Festival?The Busker Festival is a three day long street performer festival that’s based on a lot of similar festivals in the United States and Europe. They do a lot of what I like to call, “Useless skills” like fire-eating and sword-swallowing, contortionists, Pogo acrobats. There are also plenty of musicians. This year there will also be food vendors. ""

Why was it started?

Lawrence has a pretty strong arts community and performing arts community. The nature of Lawrence being both an arts and college town makes people there pretty accepting of street performers. The downtown Lawrence historical area gives an ambiance that really asks for something to go on. It’s made for street performing.

Who is performing?

There are over 25 artists performing on 4 stages for 3 days straight. The official lineup includes jugglers, magicians a contortionist and aerial artists. I also encourage other 'Buskers’ who are just getting started or want to do more to just come and find their place on the street. We have four stages set and scheduled, but there are plenty of other spaces downtown where someone could just set up and perform. Gather a crowd. Do a show, and pass a hat.

Some of our headliners are:

· Pogo Dudes: The group holds 14 World Book records in Pogo jumping. They use high powered pogo sticks that go 8 to 12 feet in the air.

· Jonathan Burns: A comedy contortionist. Imagine Napoleon Dynamite being flexible.

· Shibaten Spirit: A one man Japanese band. He plays the Didgeridoo, chimes, drums and guitar. He’s pretty amazing to watch and listen to.

Where: Downtown Lawrence. Four locations on Massachusetts Street

When: Friday August 24, 2012 to Sunday August 26, 2012

Time: Noon to 11 pm

Cost: FREE (performers will pass the hat for tips)Fore more information: lawrencebuskerfest.com

Becky Blake is the Director of the Kansas Travel & Tourism Division, and has been involved in the Kansas tourism industry for the past 30 years. The TravelKS Blog provides a brief update from Becky each week, featuring communities, events and attractions throughout the state.