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Belmont residents celebrate a favorite snack

Maddie Scarponi looked amazed when she held up two spinning plates and a ball as part of comedic juggler Bryson Lang's performance last Friday. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
April 17, 2019
BELMONT – If one were to mix some juggling feats with a touch of comedy, add a little magic and some zany antics, then stir it all together to create a great family night out, that's just what was enjoyed by both young and old last Friday as part of Belmont's ongoing 150th Anniversary celebration.

Since April 12 was National Grilled Cheese Day, the evening kicked off with many different kinds of grilled cheese sandwiches prepared by Belmont's Special Events Coordinator, Gretta Olson-Wilder, and members of the Belmont Rotary. It was all free of charge and came with chips, drinks and dessert.

"I was looking up national days like that and saw National Grilled Cheese Day fell on a Friday night this year, and I thought that was perfect for a family night out," said Olson-Wilder.

When dinner was over, comedic juggler Bryson Lang headed up on stage to cap the evening off with his fun filled style of entertainment.

After starting off by juggling six tennis balls, Lang moved up to nine balls (actually three plastic containers with three tennis balls in each) then eight balls, which turned out to be a few rubber balls that actually appeared to be eight balls used in a game of pool. He then managed to wiggle his way into his 1981 dodge ball outfit, producing more laughter as he rolled up his pant legs to reveal his 1980's style knee-high socks. The outfit had a purpose though. It allowed him to then demonstrate his famous Double Dodge Ball spin. the Double Dodge Ball Spin, he explained, was so impressive that the bullies in his class stopped hitting him in the face during gym class.

With a new baby at home, he also juggled some diapers that he "promised" weren't used, and even a few baby bottles.

Maddie Scarponi was selected to help Lang onstage but first she had to do a few martial arts warm-up moves with him in preparation. Once he felt she was ready, she became a platform for several spinning plates that he carefully placed on sticks she held in the air.

Lang juggled clubs and almost anything else he could get his hands on. Among those items were several straw hats that he could fling continuously out into the room and they would soar back to him time and time again. He later showed them how to juggle "upside down" by bouncing the balls off the floor instead of throwing them in the air.

"My downstairs neighbors never like it when I practice this trick," he jokingly confessed.

Lang also did a little magic with the water bottle he brings to each show and the paper bags he hides it in so no one will take it while he is performing. Or so he hopes.

All of it was done with music, humorous jokes and even some good-natured jabs at people in the audience.

Nine-year-old Jordan, a "brave volunteer" as Lang called him, was also asked to join him for a basketball stunt. Lang handed the boy a basketball net, which he called the Dunk Master 3000, and instructed him to hold it as he juggled four basketballs in the air. When Jordan blew a whistle to signal he was ready, Lang was then going to throw all four of the balls into the net.

"It'll be fine. Really. If I miss the net, I'll just use your head for a backboard," he told Jordan with a devilish grin.

Luckily for Jordan, no backboard was needed.

At the end of the hour-long performance, Jordan was excited about the show. He loved being a part of it all too, even though he admitted he was a little nervous about the basketball trick.

"It was a lot of fun though. The thing I think I liked best was the jokes he told. That was great," said Jordan.

Next on Belmont's calendar for 150th anniversary events will be a free outdoor concert that will take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, beside the Belmont Mill. That evening at 6 p.m. there will also be a presentation of three mural panels, which were created by students as a tribute to the town. More information and updates on events as they draw near can be found on the town Web site, www.belmontnh.org.

Varney Smith
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