Alex Gruenenfelder

Imagine being multiple feet up in the air, walking high above the world around you. This is what stilt walkers like me get to experience. It’s an amazing hobby which has allowed me to be part of a community full of performers and artists who truly love what they do. I have always had a lifelong passion for stilts. However, I remember the day (or rather, the night) that I truly decided I wanted to become a stilt walker.

It was my second year going to Magic Mountain's Fright Fest, in Valencia CA, during Halloween of 2015. I loved the DC Universe scare zone, a part of the park that was all Joker and creepy clown-themed. I am a huge fan of the Joker, and so this area was really enjoyable. But what especially made it great was one performer: the Joker, on stilts. His Joker costume was both villainous and over the top, with long purple stilt pants, a long purple coat, and an oversized hammer that read “Your Face Here” on one side. The green hair and painted white face were exactly what you'd expect from the Joker. But his style as he walked took my breath away. Those stilts made him stand out as he glided effortlessly amongst the non-stilt walking actors in their clown makeup and costumes roaming around the park. He not only commanded the space, he seemed completely at ease and comfortable n his own skin. Something about his art form was simply mesmerizing to me. I coulnd't put it into words at the time, but that night I knew I wanted to be a stilt walker.

I begged my parents for stilts and lessons for Christmas. And in January 2016, I got my first lesson and became a bonafide stilt walker. Now all I need is that hammer.