He puts all his eggs in one basket — then places them on a 20-foot-long pole and balances them.

All the while juggling items in his other hand.

It’s just another day at the office for Matt Jergens. It just so happens that his office is a stage at schools, libraries, arts centers — you name it.

Over the years, Jergens also has entertained aboard cruise lines, at resorts and in theme parks.

The professional entertainer headlines the season’s final Old National Bank First Fridays For Families event at 6 p.m. May 5 at The Commons, 300 Washington St. in Columbus. The Columbus Area Arts Council organizes and presents the free gatherings aimed primarily at children.

In the past couple of years, some First Fridays events have drawn 400 people or more, including parents, grandparents and other family members, to watch singers, puppeteers and other entertainers. This time, the arts staff is going for the juggler.

Jergens, based in Columbus, Ohio, choreographs his fast-paced routines to swing and other styles of music. When he brings audience members onstage to mimic his performance, he switches the music to “The Nutcracker.”

By the way, for those who can’t make it to the show, the 20-year performer offers a variety of basic juggler guidelines on his website at mattjergens.com.

“Most people think that juggling is only for circus families or folks with incredible hand-eye coordination,” Jergens said. “This is totally false. Anyone who can throw and catch one ball is capable of doing a basic three-ball pattern.”

For his finale, he sometimes climbs onto a unicycle and juggles sharp knives while pedaling. All this from a guy who learned the rudimentary elements of his art as a high school senior, using clay balls from his pottery class.

Up in the air entertainment

Who: Juggler Matt Jenkins performing at the season’s final Old National Bank First Fridays For Families event.

When: 6 p.m. May 5.

Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St., Columbus.

Admission: Free.

Information: 812-376-2539 or artsincolumbus.org.

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.