In an effort to bring cultures together, on Tuesday night, the Howell Library held a free holiday Magic Show.
The event was the idea of Howell Library's Children Librarian and planner of the event, Veronica Chris. "It's important to have events that bring everyone together," Chris said. "I wanted to do something to bring all three holidays together." Magician Mark Zacharia, who Chris said is also an English teacher, performed the show.
Zacharia said he performs throughout the country and learns from some of the world's top magicians. In addition to performing tricks, Zacharia said he also tries to invent his own magic. "I invent and create magic that I make available to other professional magicians," Zacharia said, who in his training, has participated in Fechter's Finger Flicking Frolic -- an invite only convention for magic that requires working with hands.
Zacharia said he particularly enjoys doing magic shows at libraries and created this show based around the two things he found all three holidays have in common: a festival of lights and sharing.
"It's a privilege to work with libraries. Libraries are not for profit organizations so anything that promotes reading and fun, I'm all for,” he said. "I wanted to mention all major (winter) holidays and then started building magical effects around them.”
The interactive show that lasted about an hour tested attendees knowledge on each holiday and their favorite holiday stories. He also noted that all those stories could be found right in the library. He then moved onto some magic. To show a celebration of lights, he had children throw him imaginary lights that helped when he “lit” a Christmas tree, menorah and kinara.
And to show sharing, he shared a pocket from his first pair of magician pants that he used to perform a disappearing and reappearing wooden egg trick. Throughout the show, Zacharia had children get involved by participating in tricks and answering holiday questions. Concluding the show, each child in attendance received a kazoo and backstage pass to Zacharia's website to watch interactive magic. The show was enjoyed by both children and parents. “It was great. I had a good time and it was fun,” said Kristina Fontes of the Ramtown section who brought her 7 and 4 year-old-children.
Denise O’Beirne of the Aldrich section who brought her 5 and 3 year-old-children said it was “cute and appropriate” for her children. She particularly liked the music and how Zacharia interacted with the children.
Zacharia has been doing magic professionally for over 15 years and said his interested in it started when he was six and his father pulled a quarter out from behind his ear. The cornerstone of each of his shows is audience involvement.
The Howell Library offers several free events for adults and children throughout the year. To learn more about them, visit the Monmouth County Library’s website at www.monmouthcountylib.org.