Evart reading program hosts magical gathering

EVART — Poof! And a fun-filled summer of reading, thanks to a program at the Evart Library up and disappeared Friday when a magician came to town.

Well, actually, he didn’t have anything to do with its disappearance, and he actually added lots to that day’s fun, but by careful planning his appearance coincided perfectly with the ending of the program.

More than 100 youngsters took part in the five-week program, and more than 60 people were on hand to see the fast-paced magic program held at the Depot in Evart.

Jeff Wawrzaszek of Ann Arbor did a variety of tricks and a good number of adults admitted even they didn’t have a clue how he did most of them.

For Wawrzaszek, there’s nothing to it. He told the crowd he was only 10 when he got his start in doing magic tricks.

He was looking for a book to read, “and there in Section 793 was one on magic.” He checked it out and “started amazing my friends back then.” After going to school for commercial art and design, he discovered following that career would mean keeping a schedule, meeting deadlines every day, and doing something not nearly as fun as magic tricks.

So his dream of one career disappeared, and going back to the one he loved, the one that helped pay his way through schooling, was the answer. He expanded it into a full-time occupation and now does more than 400 shows a year.

He told the children and the many parents who came along to see the show that “magic is ageless. It doesn’t matter if you’re four or 94, all the generations enjoy magic.”

He shared that as long as he has his health he plans to continue, and knows a magician who is still doing birthday parties at age 82.

Not only did the kids get included in his act, holding props and “knowing how you do that!” and suddenly realized they did not, but they melted the hearts of many in the crowd. The adults busied themselves trying to guess what he’d do next in a part of the act, only to be just as mystified as their own children and grandchildren.

The magician said he has a real love for people of all ages, and especially enjoys watching the faces of little children and senior citizens when they are sure they know the answer and discover they don’t. “Their eyes just sparkle as they have an aha moment, and it turns to an oh, how? I do a lot of kids parties and throughout the seasons I vary my shows a bit.”

He also used newspapers in many of magic tricks, at times as hats, other times as something to pour liquid into, and still other times to shred into many pieces, only to have it reappear intact seconds later.

He added that he does a lot of libraries during the summer, “and although this one is 179 miles from his Ann Arbor home, I couldn’t find anything I’d rather be doing work wise.”

Lilas VanScoyoc, librarian at Evart, said they used to have a party at the library for the children on the last day of the reading program, “but this year we’ve just outgrown it, which is good.”

Thanked for donating items during the reading program were Yoplait for Gogurt, McDonald’s for ice cream, B.C. Pizza for personal pan pizzas, and Thompson Milk Haulers for donating money for the appearance of the magician.