From street corner buskers and impromptu tricks in downtown restaurants, to small theater performances and a talent show at Colon High School, the opening day of the 84th Abbott Magic Gathering on Wednesday provided entertainment at all levels.
Colon’s annual premiere event looks close to returning to pre-pandemic numbers after it was canceled in 2020 and began its return to normality in 2021. There was plenty of buzz on Wednesday, starting with the Chicago-area magician John Sturk. Plymouth native Sturk kicked off the first of several street performances this week with a 20-minute concert at the corner of State Street and North Blackstone.
Sturk, 38, said 2022 marks his 18th meeting. Colon holds a special place in his heart, he said, because it’s where his career in magic and illusion began.
“Abbott’s Get-Together is unlike any other magic convention because of the history and also because it’s a lot like a family reunion…some people in the industry I only see once a year and it’s always here,” he said. said Sturk, an MSU graduate. who is the president-elect of the Society of American Magicians.
Sturk, who is scheduled to appear on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” next week, said Colon is where he won his first competitive event, a close-up competition in 2005.
Union City resident Nathan Secord watched – and even participated in – Sturk’s performance. His mother, Robin, said she saw the Get-Together promoted on Facebook and decided it would be a fun way to spend the day with her 12-year-old son.
“This is our first time attending (the meeting) and we plan to spend the day here,” he said. “The list of events has many things that interest us, so we are looking forward to the day. We’ll do some shopping, of course, and find some tricks for Nathan to learn.
Colon American Legion is sponsoring this year’s street performers.
Illinois residents Frank and Patty Gayda spent part of the afternoon watching performer John Shango and his 45-minute act at Abbott’s Magic.
Frank said that he recently retired and can now devote more time to dabbling in the world of magic. He said he especially enjoys seeing others on the field. Returning to Colon for the annual meeting is always a highlight of the summer, Gayda added.
“I really like the closeness,” he said. “All the magicians I know are very nice and approachable and willing to help. But I really enjoy the art and there really isn’t a better magic convention than here in Colon.”
Sturgis resident Lynda Kolzow hosted what she called “Grandma Camp” this week. Her two granddaughters and grandsons, ages 11, 8, 6 and 3, are from out of town and were thrilled to hear that attending the Abbott’s Magic Get-Together was on their agenda.
“The timing was really good because that was the only week they got to stay with me, so it worked out really well,” he said. “We bought some tricks here at Abbott’s and the guy who worked with us was very helpful. It’s really a fun place.”
Mike Gierman, a resident of the Chicago area, is a seasonal resident of Palmer Lake. After attending Shango’s show at Abbott’s, he, his wife and three grandchildren had lunch at Curly’s.
Gierman said it’s the first time the grandchildren have been in Colon during the reunion.
“We all enjoyed the show at Abbott’s, we’ve been there twice now and bought a few tricks,” he said. “It’s costing me a little money today, but, you know, we’re making some great memories here and having fun.”
A native of Treviso, Italy, Andrea Solimbergo is a resident of Schaumburg, Ill., who also has an interest in performing magic. He was chosen to help Jania Taylor during her street performance outside the American Legion.
Solimbergo said he knew about the Get-Together in years past, but decided that 2022 would finally be the year to attend. The enthusiasm behind his thick but charming accent was hard to hide.
“I was online and I took a closer look at this convention in Colon, and I saw that this one is different … this one is not in a big hotel, it has a much bigger personal feel,” he said. “I was very impressed by the names I saw of the people who were going to be here. I knew this would be different, but in a better way.”
Solimbergo, who secured a hotel room in Sturgis, said his first visit to St. Joseph has been memorable so far. He said he enjoyed the trip from Sturgis to Colon and especially liked the small-town atmosphere he found in Colon.
“I don’t want to miss anything, so I try to watch and attend as much as I can,” Solimbergo said. “It’s my first visit to the Abbott store and it’s so eloquent…the ceiling posters, the creaking, wooden floors, the smell and the history of the store. It’s really sensational.”
The Get-Together has much more to offer on Friday and Saturday, including a ghost-themed presentation on Friday night. A complete list of events, times and locations can be found at: www.magicgettogether.com.