Juggler Will Oltman made sure Thursday that his audience knew the fire element of his Street Performer Series routine had been suppressed by city of Holland officials.
Oltman, who has been performing a juggling act for the past six years at the series, learned Monday he could no longer use fire in his performances. After observing his performance last week, Holland Department of Public Safety Chief Matt Messer ended the use of fire because he thought it could pose a danger to the audience.
Fire has been a big part of the act for the past two years, Oltman said. In a Tuesday interview, he said the audience tends to ask for fire when he’s juggling other props. They also tip better during the fire part of the routine, he said.
Oltman’s point was proven Thursday as he juggled sans fire in GDK Park. Shouts for fire could be heard during the routine, which is the same and repeated after a brief break between each. He responded by telling the audience he wasn’t allowed to use fire but he’d address that later.
Oltman, who called the city's decision "irrational," started a song parody with a paper flame cutout, and explained fire was temporarily eliminated from the series, but that a meeting was being held Monday by Messer, Downtown Development Authority/Principal Shopping District staff and the city attorney’s office to address liability. That news garnered a round of “boos” during each routine.
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