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At the Colon Magic Festival: There's a Walk of Fame and Everything

August 7, 2012 at 1:39 PM | by | ()

Here at Jaunted, we spend considerable time and (virtual) ink drooling over weird festivals. So, this summer, we've decided to visit a few. Today and tomorrow Lara Zielin will report back from the Colon Magic Festival in Colon, Michigan.

Move over, Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Colon, Michigan has its own star-laden sidewalk honoring not movie stars, but magicians. So what if there are only three stars in the entire town? And who even cares if two of the three magicians are dead? It hardly matters to festival attendees, who hunt down the stars around town as a kind of challenge. And it certainly doesn’t dim the exuberance of 78-year-old magician Carl Karl, who was honored with a star during the 75th annual Magic Get-Together this past weekend.

“The plaque took my breath away,” Karl says, his eyes filling with tears as he recalls the surprise of being recognized for a lifetime of magic tricks. He’s one of a handful of magicians at the festival who have made a full-time career of magic, though these days leg pain keeps him off the stage. There’s a big part of Karl that’s still performing, though. He has, after all, glued two coins to his forehead. When anyone asks him about it (and a lot of people do), he says those are his...headquarters.

A block away from where Karl was hanging out at Five Star Pizza was 17-year-old Trino, who is on the other end of the magician spectrum. Trino—that’s his real name, and he’s not going to give you his last name, it’s just Trino, okay?—is just getting his magic career started. Over the weekend he was busking, or performing on the street, to live audiences. Busking is one of the highlights of the festival, and some of the best acts are out on the blacktop in the sun, hustling tricks.

Trino started doing magic to “pick up girls, but it didn’t work,” he says. The girls part, that is, not the magic part, because his act is pretty astounding. He’s already won two magic contests, and he has his eyes set on the Colon High School stage, where the big magic acts perform for the duration of the Magic Get-Together.

“My friends bag groceries for extra cash. I do magic,” he says, adding that he intends to keep sharpening his magic skills, even as he heads off to college next year.

Maybe Trino will get his own sidewalk star one day. The Colon Downtown Development Authority has plans to put in at least three more.

In the meantime, Trino and Carl Karl and the rest will keep entertaining festival-goers—close up, in person, informally and with great gusto, which is what attendees love, and which is what makes the Magic Get-Together so completely worthwhile in the first place.

[Photos: Lara Zielin]

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