Every year in Eastern Virginia on the Sunday before the Super Bowl, Harold and Diane Wood host a Party. This has been the case for many years and this year was no exception. The Party started as a way to bring a few local Magicians and Jugglers together to celebrate and share in their passions and to help the various local organizations to come together. The event started out in Harold and Diane’s home, and eventually grew too large. This year the Wood family hosted the event at the Marlbank Cove Club House located at 111 Lookout Point, Yorktown, VA. The Club was a wonderful facility with a large meeting room, a recreation room with a pool table, a lovely kitchen and several smaller rooms, set at the end of a neighborhood in historic Yorktown. The event drew 50-60 people, from all over Virginia and from many other parts of the country. It also drew from several International Brotherhood of Magician’s Rings and Society of American Magician’s Assemblies. Harold was at the entryway, sporting a purple suit jacket and fancy, colorful bow tie and that wacky expression. Everyone was asked to bring a special dish for the pot luck dinner and the kitchen was already packed with tasty delights of all sorts.

Harold introduced himself and asked if I would be willing to perform something after the meal. Having not performed much in the last, well 30 years or so, I was more than happy to oblige. Harold wrote my name down and we got to know each other briefly. Most magicians are never strangers, least not for very long. As my wife Julie and I began to mingle it became obvious this was a very welcoming group of folks. As everyone sat around eating, chatting and getting to know each other the entertainment began. First in corners of the rooms, and in hallways and nestled against the kitchen counter as Magicians shared with each other the secrets of our special trade. My evening brought me to a corner of the room where a kindly old man by the name of Santa was sitting, munching on some delicacies and trying to keep them out of his ample white beard. Turns out Santa spends much of his time when away from the North Pole, in and around Richmond, VA where he travels about the region performing children’s shows whilst his elves are fast at work producing those wondrous toys for Christmas. Santa took out a deck of cards and of course had me select one, remember it and place it back into the deck which was cut repeatedly and you guessed it my card was selected from the deck. He and I exchanged several variations of the old “Key Card” routines. Including one of my favorites where spectator deals out each card and calls it out truthfully, until they arrive at their card (which they have been told to lie about), and the performer states true or false for each card. This has gotten me more than one confession from a criminal while sitting across from them at the interrogation table, but it is always an amazing and powerful effect when done in front of an audience.

Julie and I continued to mingle, roam the house and gorge on fine food for the next couple of hours. Meeting folks and shopping at a couple of vender tables set of with all sorts a magic memorabilia, everything from stage effects to close up tricks which were brought for sale. There were historic posters, a temple screen, die box, boxes of sponge balls, thumb tips, eggs, silks, appearing canes and many more very reasonably priced treasures.

Harold kicked the evening off and then introduced each and every performer one by one. Jugglers, Magicians, Mentalists and Comedians one and all; card tricks, stage magic and feats of amazing skill and balance were demonstrated with practiced expertise typical of the many hundreds of combined years of experience gathered inside the Cove Club that day.

Juggling was amazing, this entertainer even got several people from the audience involved. He had two boys actually keeping a spinning pie pan and a lasso going for quite some time; while he was amazing folks with his own skills of dexterity and comedy. This was followed by a spectator being blindfolded, while he thought that three very sharp objects were being juggled over him. In reality the audience got a barrel of laughs at his expense.

Classic effects were performed for everyone’s enjoyment and amazement. One of the local IBM Ring members took out the Linking Rings and showed that when done well, even if everyone in the audience know’s how it’s done, it is still an effect that can bring down the house. He brought a unique patter and it was obvious to the entire audience how much he enjoys performing the classics of magic.

I chose to adapt the PATEO Prediction into a card routine. Shuffling two separate decks, I had four audience members choose different cards from the red backed deck. A blue backed deck was then shuffled and four cards were chosen from this deck. A different spectator chose one of the eight selected cards randomly and I wrote a prediction on the back and gave it to a different member of the audience. I chose a last spectator to assist me in eliminating the remaining cards one at a time by alternating 2 selecting and eliminating one with me. This is a truly amazing effect which can be done with various random borrowed items. It is impromptu, packs a lot of participation and is a lot of fun to do.

Santa preceded to do a rattling ping pong ball which would work for every child in the audience, but not for him, followed by a root beer bottle with a penetrating cap and ending with an appearing cane.

One of the local teachers of the arcane did fanciful card tricks, one of which incorporated a Magic Eight Ball. He had a number of flourishes and fans, and a lot of audience participation. This was followed up by a performance by one of his students and perhaps one of the youngest performers ever in the history of this dinner event. There was a wonderful rope routine performed by one of the local fellas from Chesapeake, VA. Harold had a wonderful floating glass of water suspended from a pencil and ended the night with a great straight jacket escape while riding a unicycle. There were several other wonderful performers and a great time was had by all. Hopefully Harold and Diane’s Pre Super Bowl Dinner continues to grow and draw even more friends we’ve just not met yet. For details of the next event stay tuned or check with one of the local Magic Clubs in the Hampton Roads area.

Julie and I met some really magical people. The night brought the beginnings of friendships, mystery, magic and mirth I certainly believe that magic brings people together and is a motivational tool in so many ways.

See you all next year!