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2017 American Youth Circus Festival

August 16-20, 2017, Trenton, NJ

Hosted by the Trenton Circus Squad


What’s new this year?

  • Workshops labeled for youth, adults, or youth + adults in the service of giving priority to youth in physical workshops and providing more options for adults
  • An expanded track of workshops for parents and educators via the adult pass
  • Increased frequency of high demand workshops
  • Membership with AYCO/ACE is required for all participants


General Schedule:
Aug 16: Check in 4-6pm, dinner 6-7pm, opening ceremonies 7:30-9pm
Aug 17-19: Open warm up 8-9am, daily activities, shows, etc 9am-10pm
Aug 20th: Activities 9am-12 noon, Lunch 12-1pm.

Housing and Travel

We expect festival goers to have transportation to get to and from their accommodation and the festival site. There is free parking available at both festival hotels, as well as in the shopping center next to our festival site at the Trenton Circus Squad.

If you will not have your own transportation to get from the hotel to the festival site, contact to be linked up with others who can help you get to and from.

*Important Change*

We have switched hotels due to poor reviews of the Wyndham Garden Trenton, which has recently changed its name to the Lafayette Yard Hotel and Conference Center and has been incredibly unresponsive in the past 3 months. We highly recommend that you make a new reservation at one of the below hotels, and then cancel your Wyndham Garden Trenton reservation.

Important numbers: Our group booking contact is Brenda – 609-656-4549.

Main desk contact: 1 609 421 4000

Current Hotel Information – we have arranged two new hotel bookings.

Quality Inn & Suites, 7 South Pennsylvania Avenue, Morrisville, PA 19067 (2 miles from festival)

Phone: 215 428 2600

Rate: $104.00 per night for a double room

Group name – American Youth Circus Organization

Must reserve by: July 15th

Has: Free parking, free breakfast, outdoor pool

Notes: Some sites still call it a Comfort Inn, the brand changed 2 years ago. Yes- it is in PA, but just 2 miles from our festival site.

Holiday Inn Express Bordentown 195 US Highway 130 Bordentown, NJ 08505 (6 miles from festival)

Phone: 609.817.0070

Room rate: $119.00 for a double room

Group name – American Youth Circus Organization

Must reserve by: July 15th

Has: Free parking, Free breakfast

Cheaper options

There are a variety of cheaper hotel options in Bordentown, NJ (econolodge, best western) – google to find the right match for you.

Home Stays

If you are interested in staying with a local family, email by June 1 with the subject line “ayco fest 2017 home stay” and we will do our best to accommodate you.


Do you or your organization want to become a sponsor of this year’s event? Check out our sponsorship packet!

Sponsorship Packet


Details and Registration

Every two years, hundreds of circus youth and circus coaches gather from all across the United States for the American Youth Circus Festival. This five-day event is comprised of over 150 workshops, two showcases, and plentiful social events and community building opportunities.

This is a life changing event that is not to be missed!

Register Here!

Festival Fees and Passes

Full information about passes and what they include can be found by clicking each pass link.

Youth Pass: $450

Adult Pass: $250

Workshop leader (accepted applicants only): $100

Breakfast at the Trenton Circus Squad: $30

Chaperone Assistance: $150

For more information on breakfast and chaperone assistance, visit our page here.


A note about Chaperones/Adult passes:

Because our event is not delivered in the style of a sleep away camp where there is supervision for each child at all times, we require each youth have a designated chaperone.  If you choose to come as a chaperone, you will need to purchase the adult pass which comes with access to a special strand of workshops as well as food, shows, and social events. You’ll also be asked to join as an AYCO member. You will be deeply embedded into the culture of the event as a chaperone and encouraged to participate as opposed to sitting off to the side waiting for activities to be done!

If you are a parent who wishes to attend and chaperone and do other work from our site, you are welcome to do this with your adult pass, but note there will be limited access to quiet spaces for this purpose (although we will have wifi).

Remember, if you know another person over 21 going to the event already, you can designate them as a chaperone for your child so that you don’t have to be on site! Contact if you have any questions or concerns about this and we will help you sort it out.



All participants, chaperones, work study and workshop leaders are required to sign a waiver.

Sign the Waiver

Applications, Fine Print and Contact Info

Showcase Applications

Want to perform your act in front of the national circus community? Apply to perform in the national festival showcase! For more information, visit our showcase guidelines and FAQ page. Application deadline = June 10th

Showcase Application

Work Study

For young adults ages 18-26 who are in between youth circus and a professional circus career.  Trade working at the festival for an all access pass (youth + adult workshops). By application only. Application deadline = June 1st (rolling admission until then)

Apply Here for Work Study!

Workshop Leaders

Workshop leaders will be selected via application process by the program director, and will be required to offer their workshop twice during the course of the event. Application deadline = March 24th

Apply Here to Lead a Workshop!

Financial Aid

Financial aid for organizations is limited to members of the Social Circus Network.

Financial Aid for individuals may become available – check back for more information!

The Fine Print

  • We are not able to accommodate requests to extend the early bird rate.
  • No refunds after June 1, 2017
  • All youth passes require a youth membership.
  • Adult and Workshop Leader passes require a supporter, professional, or institutional level membership.

Festival Contact Information

Questions about registration, payment and schedule sign up: Sam Boyles at

Questions about the showcase: Polly Solomon at

General festival questions: Amy Cohen at