Ever want to see one of those sword swallowing acts in person? Here’s your chance to check out World Sword Swallowers Day! In conjunction with the Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI), Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium will be hosting this event Saturday, February 26th at 2:26pm (that’s 2:26:11 on 2/26/11). On World Swallowing Day last year, 22 performers swallowed more than 138 feet of steel at 10 Ripley’s Odditoriums! Why is there a World Sword Swallower’s Day? “We sword swallowers risk our lives every time we swallow swords, but many people don’t believe it’s real, or they think the art has died out,” explains Dan Meyer, a sword swallower who has been featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not!. The day was initiated to “raise awareness of the medical contributions sword swallowers have made to the fields of medicine and science, to honor veteran performers, to raise funds for esophageal cancer research and the Injured Sword Swallower’s Relief Fund (with donations matched by Ripley’s), and to correct myths by putting on sword swallowing demonstrations for the public and media around the world.”
Sword swallowing originated in India before 2000 BC, and during these early times it was a demonstration of power. As it expanded over time and migrated to other countries, it became more of a theatrical event, and was introduced in America at the Chicago World’s Fair back in 1893. “Sword swallowers and Ripley go way back to the very first Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium”, said Tim O’Brien, VP of Communications for Ripley Entertainment Inc. Back then, in 1933, three performers mesmerized the huge crowds and two of then were ladies!
You can see for yourself at either Central Florida Ripley’s Odditorium, the International Drive or St. Augustine locations, and see if you ‘believe it or not’.
Check out our spotlight article for more Odditorium information.