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Each year, the Portland Juggling Festival recognizes a person or organization at the festival for inspiring festival attendees and our community of jugglers and circus arts performers.

Ben Linder was a Portland juggler and a graduate of University of Washington, who was building a small-scale hydroelectric generator to bring electricity to a remote village of El Cuá in war-torn Nicaragua. Ben often used his circus skills to help others, such as juggling, unicycling, and clowning to bring children into a field clinic for immunization shots. Ben Linder was ambushed and murdered by US-back Contra forces on April 28, 1987 at the age of 27.

The Portland Juggling Festival created this award, with the support of the Linder family, to keep the memory of Ben Linder alive and honor his spirit of inspiration in the service of community and humanity.

Recipients of Portland Juggling Festival’s

Ben Linder Memorial Award for Inspiration

2022 — ?

2020 & 2021 — Exuro Piechocki

2019 — Wes Peden and Florence Huet

2018 — Anni Küpper

2017 — Maria Thomas

2016 — Cate “Cate Great! Flaherty


2015 — Bri Crabtree


2014 — Sisyphus Farms:

Charlie Brown, website and

Zephyr Brown, website

2013 — David Groth

2012Curtis Carlyle

2011Sarah Liane Foster

2010Bekka Rose

2009 — Circus Conspiracy:

Matthew “Poki” McCorkle and

Brian Thompson

2008Thomas Dietz

2007Clowns Without Borders


2005Nathan Hoover

2004Matt Hall

2003Vova Galchenko and Olga Galchenko

2002Viktor Kee

2001David Lichtenstein

2000 — Masahiro Mizuno

1999 — Frank Olivier

1998 — Robert “Butterfly Man” Nelson

1997 — Adam Adler

1996 — Laura Green

1995 — Jill Westover

1994 — Rhys Thomas

1993 — Scott 'Mag' Hughes

1992 — Stuart Celarier

* In 2006, the International Jugglers' Association Festival was held in Portland, so there was no Portland Juggling Festival that year.

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