5th Annual Sideshow Gathering

If you are a sword swallower, you NEED to be there!

1). What is SSAI?

Our name says it all:

Sword Swallowers - SSAI is a private organization made up OF sword swallowers, BY sword swallowers, and FOR sword swallowers only. SSAI was specifically set up to serve established sword swallowers, and not necesarily for training new sword swallowers.

Association - SSAI is a networking organization designed to serve and support sword swallowers, to help sword swallowers in networking with each other, and to promote sword swallowers to booking agents and other interested parties.

International - SSAI is an international organization dedicated to promoting sword swallowing and sword swallowers all over the world – United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, and anywhere else there are sword swallowers.

2). Why should I belong to SSAI?

SSAI has been developed to serve and support sword swallowers worldwide to help members…

  • Network with each other
  • Learn from each other
  • Share with each other
  • Secure new bookings
  • Attain wider professional exposure

3). I am an already established sword swallower, and already know many of the other sword swallowers. What do I get out of SSAI that I don't already have? What will SSAI do for ME?

  • SSAI is set up to be an advocate to serve and support sword swallowers worldwide
  • SSAI is set up to help you meet and network with other sword swallowers so you can learn from each other and encourage the creative process
  • SSAI strives to set high standards for the art of sword swallowing and elevate it from being perceived as a cheap "trick" to a high-value performance art
  • SSAI will help generate bookings for you through our online booking request service
  • SSAI is dedicated to researching historical archives for more information on sword swallowers of the past
  • SSAI will continue to search for information to network present sword swallowers
  • SSAI will keep you abreast of the latest news, records, innovations, performances, appearances, gigs, vendors, booking opportunities, and resources such as articles, books and videos, etc.

For more information, go to www.swordswallow.com/membership.php

4). What will it cost me to join SSAI?


*SSAI is not designed or intended to be a revenue-generating organization. However, there are significant costs associated with establishing and running the organization, as well as providing membership benefits. The recommended donation is used to help offset a small portion of the fees that SSAI incurs.

Become an SSAI Member now!

5). What do I get for my membership fee?

  • 1 year membership to SSAI
  • SSAI membership card, featuring personal membership information on the front and emergency medical information on the back. Use this card to help establish with authorities such as airline security that you are a legitimate sword swallower, as well as assure your safe medical attention in case of emergency.
  • SSAI member discounts on products, conventions and events when applicable
  • The right to use the SSAI logo on your website, business cards and publicity
  • The legitimacy of being an official member of the world's only sword swallowing organization, which can help translate to higher booking rates.
  • The networking, support, dedication and backing of SSAI and your fellow SSAI members

6). What can I do to help SSAI?

  • Contribute suggestions for what we can all do to elevate the art of swordswallowing
  • Help us strive to set high standards and competitive rates
  • Network with each other and share what you have learned
  • Add links on your site pointing to www.swordswallow.com
  • Become a part of the SSAI advisory board or a regional rep
  • Offer your skills by speaking and performing on behalf of SSAI at the
    2nd Annual SSAI Sword Swallowers Convention

7). What is the Sideshow Gathering and SSAI Sword Swallowers Convention?

It is a great chance for sideshow performers and sword swallowers to meet, network and perform with each other.

This year marks the 5th Annual Sideshow Gathering, held in conjunction with the
Inkin' The Valley Tattoo Convention in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Even though there will not be a formal SSAI meeting or Big Swallow World Record Attempt this year, there will still be plenty of great acts and performances there Labor Day weekend, and we encourage you to go to network with other performers.

For more information, go to:



8). When will it be held?

Labor Day weekend 2006

9). Where will it be held?

Ramada Plaza Hotel on Public Square
20 Public Square
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

Tel: +1 (570) 824-7100


When booking flight reservations, look for
"Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP)"

If you are flying in to Scranton International Airport (AVP), the Ramada Hotel has a shuttle service for guests that runs from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. - Call (570) 824-7100 for arrangements.

10). How much are room rates?

The Ramada Plaza Hotel has 174 rooms, with prices from $80-$89 per room, but they are going fast. Register soon to get a room.

Tel: (570) 824-7100 (make sure to mention that you are a sword swallower with the SideShow Gathering)


Other nearby reservations:


If you are interested in cutting costs, we will be glad to help coordinate sharing rooms with other sword swallowers. Please contact us if you are interested in sharing a room with another sword swallower, and we will be glad to help hook you up.

11). Who will be attending?

A wide variety of sideshow veterans, performers, historians and showmen. In attendance in past years' conventions were:

Ward Hall
James Taylor
Red Stuart
Red Trower
Johnny Fox
Dai Andrews
Erik Sprague/Lizardman
Todd Robbins
Natasha Veruschka
Keith Nelson/Mr. Pennygaff
George the Giant McArthur
Malakai/Michael Todd
Tim Cridland/Zamora The Torture King
Ses Carny
Robert Wolf
Danny Snyder
Julia Strouzer/Jewels
Petur Pokus (Iceland)
Thomas Blackthorne (Italy)
Bill Berry
Roderick Russell
Dan Meyer
Charon Henning
Know Nothing Zideshow Zirkus
Crispy Family Circus
Sideshow Bennie
Harley Newman
The Great Nippulini
And many other sideshow performers!

12). Do I need to be a member of SSAI to attend the Sideshow Gathering?

No. The Sideshow Gathering is open to the general public and anyone interested in sideshows and tattoos. The cost of admission for a weekend ticket is $25/person.

13). Will there be another SSAI "Big Swallow" World Record Attempt this year?

No. There will not be an official SSAI sanctioned "Big Swallow" Guinness World Record attempt this year.

14). What are the SSAI official requirements for sword swallowing?

In order to qualify to join SSAI, you must be a verified legitimate sword swallower, and must comply with SSAI sword swallowing regulations:

  • Each sword must be non-retractable with non-collapsible solid steel blade
  • Each blade must be at least 15 inches (38 cm) in length*
  • Each blade must be at least 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch (2 cm) wide in width**
  • Each blade must be available for inspection by officials and witnesses
  • It is preferred that multiple blades be swallowed simultaneously rather than one at a time***

* The length of the average adult esophagus ranges from 12 to 15 inches (30.5 to 38.1 cm) in length. In order to qualify to become an approved member of SSAI, the required blade length to be swallowed must be from 15 to 20 inches (38.1 to 50.8 cm) in length. Due to the dangers involved in sword swallowing, SSAI does NOT encourage sword swallowers to attempt to swallow blades longer than 20-24 inches (50 to 61 cm) in length.

** Accepted standard blade width runs from 1/2 to 1 inch in width.

*** Due to the extreme danger and increased risk of injury while swallowing multiple swords (sometimes known as a "sword sandwich") and the amount of time that other sword swallowers would be required to retain their swords, SSAI does NOT encourage sword swallowers to swallow multiple swords individually one at a time, particularly due to the increased risks of scissoring and perforation of the esophagus.

15). What other events are scheduled for the convention?

There are several sword swallowers, fire eaters, and other sideshow performers slated to perform throughout the weekend. Contact us if you are interested in going!

Click here to join SSAI

We look forward to seeing you at the convention! If you have any additional comments, questions or suggestions, please
contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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