We’re holding a small Open House event on Tuesday, April 18 at 10 a.m. specifically for the press. Some of the performers, organizers, and village leaders will be in attendance at Abbott’s Magic Co. for interviews or pictures (124 St Joseph St, Colon, MI 269-432-3235). A short 20 minute magic show will be offered to give everyone “a taste” of what 31 Flavors of Magic will be like.
Organization: IBM Ring 386
Phone Number: 269-503-1569
Web Site: http://magic-festival.com/
The village of Colon hosts full day of live entertainment
The snow has vanished, the robins have returned to Michigan and Colon, the self professed Magic Capital of the World, is launching its third annual 31 Flavors of Magic festival on Saturday, April 22.
It must be spring.
31 Flavors of Magic is a unique spring festival that turns the entire village of Colon (all two or three blocks of it) into a Midway of Magic, with each location and storefront hosting its own diverse taste of magic and mystery. All of the restaurants, all of the bars, all three magic shops, the library, the grange and more will be participating venues. Visitors can enjoy close-up magic, cabaret magic, stage shows, gospel magic, mentalism, balloon artists, puppet shows, street performers, kids’ shows and more simply by walking out one door and into another.
The event is hosted by Colon’s local magic club, the International Brotherhood of Magicians Ring 386. Member and organizer Ron Carnell said the name of the event is appropriate because there are so many different kinds of magic available throughout the festival.
“Magic is a performance art just like music,” explained Carnell, “And it’s every bit as diverse as music, too. One of our goals is to expose people to as many different facets of our art form as we can. Of course our primary goal is to make sure everyone has fun.”
According to Carnell, there will be thirty shows offered throughout the day, plus walk-around magic at several restaurants, performed by sixteen different entertainers. Seventeen if you count Einstein, the 22 pound Flemish giant rabbit who will be reading minds at one of the twelve different venues. Many of the performers have appeared on PBS, ESPN, David Letterman, the Statler Brothers Show, Arsenio Hall, as well as many local television and radio programs. One has even performed at the White House.
Linda Rehmeyer lives in Colon and said she went to the festival last year with two friends. “We had a lot of fun,” added Rehmeyer. Martha Graham also attended last year and later posted on Facebook to say, “All the magicians were awesome! Everyone that I saw was having a great time.” Tim Granger of Coldwater brought seven kids to the event last year and reported, “We’re having an excellent time. The kids love it. So, yea, it’s been a great day.” Perhaps the most fun comment from 2016 came from Tim Carlson, a magician from Las Vegas now living in Bay City. Carlson said, “A friend of mine asked me how the 31 Flavors of Colon was… I almost wet myself.”
Carnell recalled an incident during the festival in 2016 where a grandfather specifically sought him out to thank him for helping to stage the event. “He told me it was the exact family-oriented day he had hoped to spend with his grandchildren,” Carnell recounted. “His obviously sincere appreciation made all our work worthwhile.”
Colon, Michigan, with a population of just over 1200 people, is an ideal venue for the 31 Flavors of Magic festival. The small village is widely recognized as the Magic Capital of the World, an appellation dating back more than eighty years. It all started in the midst of the Roaring Twenties when already world-famous stage magician Harry Blackstone bought property on Sturgeon Lake and spent his summers for many years. Blackstone was one of the most famous magicians of his era, on a par with Houdini or Thurston, and like a magnet drew many other famous entertainers to the area. His son, Harry Blackstone Jr., was raised in Colon and, thanks to television, eventually became even more famous than his father.
Colon’s reputation as a magic Mecca was further cemented when Percy Abbott visited Blackstone in 1927, married a local girl soon after, and eventually founded Abbott’s Magic Novelty Company in 1933. Abbott’s quickly became the largest and most predominant supplier of magic in the world. In 1934 Abbott sponsored the first Magic Get-together.More than eighty years later, the Get-Together in August is still the cornerstone of the Colon year, drawing magicians from all over the world.
Today, there are three magic shops in little Colon, which is more brick and mortar magic shops than you’ll find in most states. Many local business, like Illusions Hair Care and Magic City Hardware, have adopted the magic theme. In the local cemetery there are more magicians buried, some world famous, some not so much, than in any other cemetery in the world. Embedded sporadically in the downtown sidewalks are 16-by-16-inch bronze stars comprising Colon’s Magic Walk of Fame and celebrating famous magicians who have had ties to the village. The high school athletic teams are known as the Magi and are usually accompanied on field or court by a six-foot rabbit mascot named Hare E. Blackstone. Colon clearly takes its long history of magic very seriously.
WHAT: 31 Flavors of Magic all-day festival.
WHEN: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 22.
WHERE: Various locations throughout Colon.
COST: Early registration tickets are $5 for children, $10 for adults and $25 for a family pack. Tickets the day of the event are $8 for kids, $15 for adults and $35 for a family pack.
INFO: For a show schedule, a list of locations and to purchase tickets, go to www.magic-festival.com. For more information, call (269) 432-4017.