Bringing It Home

People who stand on street corners pretending to be the Statue of Liberty are part of a long tradition. Some street acts -- such as juggling -- date from ancient times, and wandering performers called troubadours, minstrels and jesters have entertained people throughout history. Washington isn't the best venue for street performers, but there are street musicians who play near Metro stations. And street performers are sometimes part of the city's festivals. Baltimore has street performers year-round at the Harborplace Amphitheater and at Constellation Dock. They perform from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. from April through October -- and when the weather is nice during the winter months. Performers can't just show up and start telling jokes or juggling flaming torches. They first have to audition and be invited to join the roster of about 65 performers. In August, the acts will include the Unicycle Lady, a mime, a magician and the St. Veronica's Youth Steel Orchestra.

For a taste of street performing as it was in 16th century England, visit the Renaissance Festival near Annapolis. The festival, which runs weekends in the late summer and fall, has featured acts such as "The Skinny German Juggle Boy" and "The Human Pretzel." For more information, check out www.rennfest.com/mrf/index.html.

D.C. street performers often are found at festivals and near Metro stations.