Magicians Gather in Colon for ‘Get-Together’

From buskers around the corner and impromptu spins at downtown restaurants, to performances from small theaters and showcase talent at Colon High School, the opening day of the 84th Abbott’s Magic Get-Together on Wednesday provided entertainment at all levels.

The annual Colon premiere event looks set to return to pre-pandemic numbers after it was canceled in 2020 and began its return to normal in 2021. There was a lot of buzz on Wednesday, starting by Chicago-area magician John Sturk. Hailing from Plymouth, Sturk kicked off the first of several street acts this week with a 20-minute gig on 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 that’s where his career in magic and illusion began.

“Abbott’s Get-Together is different from any other magical convention because of the story and also because it feels so much like a family reunion…some people in the industry that I only see once a year and it’s still there,” said Sturk, an MSU graduate. who is the president-elect of the Society of American Magicians.

Sturk, who is set to compete on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” next week, said Colon was where he won his first competitive event, a close contest in 2005.

Union City resident Nathan Secord watched — and even participated in — Sturk’s performance. His mum, 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 to (the Get-Together) and we plan to spend the day here,” she said. “There are quite a few things on the event list that we’re interested in, so we’re really looking forward to that day. We’ll do a bit of shopping, of course, and teach Nathan a few things.

Colon American Legion is sponsoring this year’s street performers.

Illinois residents Frank and Patty Gayda spent part of their afternoon watching performer John Shango and his 45-minute number at Abbott’s Magic.

Frank said he recently retired and was now able to devote more time to getting into the world of magic. He said he particularly enjoys watching others on the pitch. Coming back to Colon for the annual get-together is always a summer highlight, Gayda added.

“I really appreciate the closeness,” he said. “All the magicians I meet, they’re all so kind and approachable, and willing to help. But I really love the art and there really isn’t a better magic convention than here in Colon.

Sturgis resident Lynda Kolzow was hosting what she called “Grandma Camp” this week. His two granddaughters and grandsons — ages 11, 8, 6 and 3 — are from out of town and were thrilled to learn that attending Abbott’s Magic Get-Together was on their orders from day.

“The timing was really good because it was the only week they were able to stay with me, so it worked out really well,” she said. “We bought some stuff here at Abbott and the guy who worked with us was really helpful. It really is a fun place.

Chicago-area resident Mike Gierman is a seasonal resident of Palmer Lake. After completing Shango’s program at Abbott, he, his wife and three grandchildren had lunch at Curly’s.

Gierman said it was the first time the grandkids were in Colon when they met.

“We all loved the show at Abbott, we’ve been there twice already and bought towers,” he said. “It’s costing me a little money today but, you know, we’re making good memories here and having fun.”

Originally from Treviso, Italy, Andrea Solimbergo is a resident of Schaumburg, Illinois who also has an interest in magic. He was chosen to assist 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 conceal.

“I was online and took a closer look at this convention in Colon, and saw that this one is different…this one is not in a big hotel, it has a much more personal touch “, did he declare. “I was very impressed with the names I saw of people who were going to be here. I knew it was going to be different but in a better way.

Solimbergo, who secured a hotel room in Sturgis, said his first-ever visit to St. Joseph County has been memorable so far. He said he enjoyed the ride 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 everything I can,” Solimbergo said. “I am visiting the Abbott store for the first time and it speaks volumes… the signs on the ceiling, the creaking floors, the perfume and the history of the store. It’s really sensational.”

The Get-Together has a lot more to offer on Friday and Saturday, including a ghost-themed showcase performance on Friday night. A full list of events, times and locations can be viewed at: www.magicgettogether.com.

Chicago-area resident and Italian native Andrea Solimbergo was asked to help magician/street performer Jania Taylor with a ringside trick on Wednesday as part of Abbott's 84th Magic Get-Together.  The four-day festival continues until Saturday.
Patty and Frank Gayda assisted magician John Shango with a handcuff trick on Wednesday at Abbott's Magic.  The 84th Abbott's Magic Get-Together opened Wednesday and ends Saturday in Colon.
Seasonal Colon resident Mike Gierman impresses his granddaughters, Reese, 7, and Vivienne, 5, with a rope trick he purchased Wednesday at Abbot's Magic in Colon.  They had lunch at Curly's after participating in activities related to Abbott's Magic Get-Together.

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