Ciara Blossom’s hula hoop and ribbon gymnastics performances yesterday at the Student Association for Campus Activities’ first Mall-a-Palooza event outside the LBJ Student Center concluded with a buzz—and a bee in her coconut water.
Blossom discussed her experiences as a former raw food chef, clothing designer, make-up artist, hula hoop creator and Austin-based circus performer after almost swallowing the bee and spitting it on the floor.
The redhead, with rhinestones in the shape of flowers stuck on her cheeks, began hula hooping in July 2009 through a friend who conducted workshops at Austin’s first living foods café, which she
helped to start.
Blossom began to attend “circus jams” at Barton Springs. It was here she acquired the tricks that evolved into a new profession.
From the girl who was once too tall to be a gymnast, to the woman who bends her back while hula hooping, Blossom and a friend, who she discovered lived nearby, started Spunlight Hoops.
The company specializes in hula and fire hoop classes and events, a full-time job allowing Blossom to perform across the nation at events like the annual Lightning in a Bottle festival in California.
“I feel like the hula hoop was a vortex that sucked me into this, like, hurricane of hooping, and I just sort of spiraled into it and it took me away,” she said. “It kind of just ate me alive.”
Blossom, along with contortionist Bethany Summersizzle, was hired by EPIC Entertainment to perform at Mall-a-Palooza in front of Texas State students, some of which had never seen such acts in person before.
Elijah Serena, biology junior, said despite this being the first time he has seen a contortionist in person, he reacted to Summersizzle’s performance more maturely than some of the other attendees.
“You had to have an open mind and not think dirty, like some of my friends here,” Serena said.
EPIC Entertainment was one of several Mall-a-Palooza activities, which also included moon bounces, carnival games and a chili cook-off.
Jessica Rahm, marketing senior, was the brainchild of the event, serving as SACA’s entertainment director.
Originally named Carnival in The Quad, Rahm said the idea for the event came about last January when the organization discussed its budget.
Rahm and her fellow SACA members became inspired by the Lollapalooza festival, even though amplified sound is banned from The Quad. They liked the idea of an annual carnival event and chili cook-off.
The chili cook-off was a way for registered on-campus student organizations to raise money.
Cat Camp received $250 based on student votes.
Despite time, budget and volunteer staff challenges, Rahm said the event was worth the attempt.
“Every SACA member has been involved,” said Rahm. “People have really come together to try to put it on.”