You might be surprised to learn that the “Magic Capital of the World” is not Las Vegas, New York, or London, but the tiny town of Colon, Michigan. Indeed, the tiny town with barely more than a thousand residents is recognized as such by the United States Congress. For the past 80 years Colon has hosted Abbott’s Magic Get Together, an annual convention that pulls in several hundred magicians from all over the world. This year, it’s also hosting Michigan Magic Day 2018.

Starting with a Night Before Gathering on May 18th and running throughout Saturday, May 19th, the event boasts hours of lectures and performances, including appearances by:

Harrison Greenbaum

A multi-award winning stand-up comedian who has appeared on dozens of popular shows including America’s Got Talent, Last Comic Standing, Gotham Comedy Live and Brain Games. Sometimes dubbed “the hardest-working man in comedy,” Greenbaum often clears 600 shows a year. 

 Scott Alexander

This chill illusionist was described as, “hip, laid back and refreshing,” by the LA Times. His fun patter and impressive illusions got him into the last stage of America’s Got Talent, as well as onto channels like SyFy, Discovery Channel and NBC Showtime. 

John Shango 

This multi-talented magician has great reviews, but almost no online presence. Upload some videos, John!

BJ Mallen

A razorsharp magician, comedian and sideshow performer, Mallen makes time for plenty of TV appearances between cushty corporate gigs. 

Nahan Kranzo 

A magician and trick creator who has performed and lectured across the United States, Europe, and Asia. He’s worked as a consultant for Penn & Teller and appeared on Wizard Wars, Houdini and Doyle, and America’s Got Talent. 

Tyler Gronauer 

Gronauer started performing magic at just 12-years-old. He’s been performing for 4 years. Do the math. 

Mike Powers

This prolific author and skilful close-up magician has been entertaining restaurant crowds for nearly thirty years. He has lectured and performed at magic conventions and clubs around the world. 

Early registration for Michigan Magic Day 2018 starts at 6:00pm on Friday, May 18th, with most of the events taking place the following day. Tickets are available now.

Colon, Michigan is a blip of a town in the midwest, with a population of about 1100 people (according to recent census estimates) and covers less than two square miles. And yet, this remote town somehow became the epicenter of the magic industry for a time during the 20th century. In a recent episode of Stateside on Michigan Public Radio, archivist Steve Ostrander and American Museum of Magic board member Jeff Taylor dig into the reason why Colon, Michigan is known as the “Magic Capital of the World”. The answer involves the legacy of Harry Blackstone, Sr. and his unlikely choice for a summer getaway.

Steve Ostrander explains: “The real renaissance of magic in Michigan began when Harry Blackstone [Sr.]…made the small town of Colon, Michigan in St. Joseph County…he made it his summer residence. He was from Chicago, and the city in the summertime is hot and people didn’t like to go to shows in the summer and sit in a hot theater. So they would take the whole summer off and go some place and relax and unwind from the road and do maintenance on their stage props.”

Blackstone’s presence in the small town was a boon to the economy there, especially when he partnered with Australian magician Percy Abbott to form the Blackstone Company. When the two split, Abbott renamed the outfit Abbott’s magic company, and stayed put in Colon.

“To have this going on in such an out of the way place,” Taylor explains, “if you’ve been to Colon, you know it is still very much a small town. It’s quite a distance from the nearest expressway exit. You can only imagine what it must have been when Blackstone first moved there, even smaller, even more remote. Magicians would come for this get-together, and they would come literally from all over the world. The list of names that have either been there, performed there, or purchased magic apparatus from the Abbott Company, you know, is really a who’s who of magicians in the last 70 years or so. It’s unique to see something like this in a small town.”

And even as small as the town remains, it’s still embracing its magical heritage, hosting summer camps and conventions every year. In fact, 2017 marked the 80th anniversary of the aforementioned Abbott Company’s Magic Get Together convention in the tiny town.

To listen to the rest of the interview with Taylor and Ostrander, head over to Michigan Radio’s official site, or subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or via their RSS feed.