With a wave of his hand, magician Rick Fisher turns several uneven lengths of rope into even pieces. He has me tug on the ropes to verify they are taut. With another wave of a hand, the ropes are back to being uneven lengths.
Colon, located in the Rivers Country area of southwest Michigan, earned its nickname when Harry Blackstone, Sr., a famous magician in the early 1900s, settled there. A friend and fellow magician, Percy Abbott, soon joined Blackstone and went into the magic trick manufacturing business. Abbott started an annual get-together for magicians, who came from all over the world, hanging out together and putting on shows for the public. Abbott and others opened magic shops in town. Colon became the place to be for magicians.
On the day that Rick Fisher discovered magic, the weather was stifling hot. The single oscillating fan in the vacation trailer where the 7-year-old was staying with his family served only to circulate warm, humid air. Too hot even for fishing, looking for a place to cool off, the Fisher family decided the shops in Colon were the best bet for relief from the heat. In one of the magic shops, Rick’s parents bought him a handful of magic tricks. As fate would have it, that hot day in 1965 would set the direction of Fisher’s life.
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Back home Fisher found he could fool his friends with his new magic tricks, and he was hooked. As a shy kid who didn’t do well in sports, magic built his self-esteem. He knew then that he wanted to be a magician.
Over the years, Fisher honed his skills and performed magic and ventriloquist acts part-time, with gigs in Las Vegas and California, while he supported his family with a full-time job in corporate America. When his corporate position was eliminated, he jumped into magic full-time. He moved his family from their home in Muncie, Indiana, to Colon, the little town he never forgot, where he started the FAB Magic Company.
Although the manufacturing facility is his bread-and-butter, the family-friendly retail shop is the part of the business Fisher enjoys most, where 90 percent of his business is done at the beginner’s counter. Remembering back to his childhood magic shop visit, he is thrilled to spend hours with a child who is fascinated with magic, recalling how magic pulled him out of his shell.
Fisher puts on a magic show at noon every Saturday from Memorial Day through Labor Day (tickets $5, children 5 and under free). In addition to magic, the audience may be treated to a visit by Riley the Rabbit. We had the pleasure of meeting Riley during our visit and found that Fisher’s ventriloquism skills are so good that you could almost believe the rabbit was really talking.
Fisher also hosts the annual Colon Magic Festival, his take on the magic get-together. The festival features magic shows, live music, street performers and a Magic Idol competition. The festival is scheduled in 2015 for July 23-25.
FAB Magic is located at 212 E State Street in Colon Michigan. Check the web site for hours and details on the Colon Magic Festival.
Disclosure: My visit to Colon, Michigan, was hosted by the River Country Tourism Council of Greater St. Joseph County. However, all opinions in this article are my own.
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