Oregon Fairs Association Convention

Fair managers and service members come together at the Oregon Fairs Association convention

Fair managers and service members come together at the Oregon Fairs Association convention

Oregon Fairs Association Convention

This year’s Oregon Fairs Association convention was held October 20 – 22, 2016 at the Linn County Fair and Expo Center in Albany, Oregon.  I performed as part of the “Big Party” Friday night and am scheduled to perform for the Deschutes County Fair and the Columbia County Fair in the summer of 2017.  Here are photos from my “fair family” of performers, service members, fair managers, and fair board members at the OFA convention.

Looking for great entertainment for your fair or festival in Washington or Oregon?  Contact Jeff Evans at (360) 412-5064 or send e-mail to jeff[at]amazementproductions.com.  Jeff’s blend of clean comedy and amazing magic is ideal for family audiences and he offers both strolling and stage shows.

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Spokane Magician

Spokane Magician Jeff Evans

New fans from the Spokane Interstate Fair

New fans from the Spokane Interstate Fair

This was my third consecutive year being the official Spokane magician for the Spokane Interstate Fair. I performed both strolling magic about the grounds plus stage shows throughout the ten day run of the Fair.

It’s amazing how diverse Fairs are, as they span everything from ag to animals and art to high tech.  Imagine it, and you may see it at the Fair!  Rides on a camelid?  Check.  Big name concert acts?  Got it.  Souped-up tractors that sound like drag racers?  Yessir!  This year they even featured a SHARK exhibit.  A diver swims with nurse sharks in a huge tank and speaks with the audience during his presentation.

It was a nice surprise meeting several people – usually while strolling – who remembered me from previous years.  One teenager came up to me after my stage show and pulled out a dog-eared playing card with his name on it from his wallet.  He signed it and I used it in a trick last year, and he’s kept it in his pocket ever since!  Thanks to my magician friends Jon Bowne and Cecil Lewis for taking the photos of me on stage.  (It’s difficult taking my own picture!)

 

Spokane magician Jeff Evans entertains for the Interstate Fair

Spokane magician Jeff Evans entertains for the Interstate Fair

"It was great to see you again at the Spokane County Fair last night! Our grand kids and their friends (some who are exchange students from Mexico) thoroughly enjoyed the amazing magic you performed before their eyes! You helped make their Fair experience memorable! Thank you for the pleasure of your company!" AnneMarie DeCaro?

“It was great to see you again at the Spokane County Fair last night! Our grand kids and their friends (some who are exchange students from Mexico) thoroughly enjoyed the amazing magic you performed before their eyes! You helped make their Fair experience memorable! Thank you for the pleasure of your company!” AnneMarie DeCaro?

 

Justin the Juggler gathered big crowds several times each day

Justin the Juggler gathered big crowds several times each day

While I was performing I also met folks who saw me at the Grant County Fair in Moses Lake and remembered me from First Night Spokane on New Year’s Eve.  (All I remember from that evening is that it was COLD!)

Thanks Courtney for posting this nice review on Facebook“Saw him as the Spokane’s interstate fair and was blown away!”

Timing was perfect to take in the Washington State Chinese Lantern Festival at Riverfront Park which was an amazing spectacle of illuminated colors and artwork.

Pictures don't do this justice; you have to experience it for yourself.

Pictures don’t do this justice; you have to experience it for yourself.

If you’re looking for a motivational-magic Spokane school assembly or great entertainment for your Spokane corporate party, call me, Jeff Evans, toll-free (877) 412-5064 or send e-mail to jeff[at]amazementproductions.com.

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Moses Lake Magician

Magic in the Air for the Grant County Fair

Multi-talented Eric Haines conducts his orchestra on the Family Fun Stage at the Grant County Fair

Multi-talented Eric Haines conducts his orchestra on the Family Fun Stage at the Grant County Fair

Moses Lake magician Jeff Evans performed both stage and strolling magic daily, giving fairgoers a chance to see a wide range of amazing feats.  Performing for fairs is a mix; it can be wonderfully fun, or miserably lousy.  There are so many variables; hot or cold, dusty or wet, loud or deserted.  But this year’s Grant County Fair in Moses Lake was a ton of fun thanks in a large part to the other top-notch entertainers who were also performing.

Next up for Jeff Evans:  the Wheatland Community Fair in Ritzville on September 1, then the Spokane Interstate Fair September 9 -18.  If you’d like to stay up to date on upcoming public shows, be a fan on Facebook.  To learn more about adding clean comedy and amazing magic to your event ranging from Moses Lake to Seattle to Portland, call Jeff Evans toll-free 877-412-5064 or send e-mail to jeff[at]amazementproductions.com.

Magician Jeff Evans wins the audience over at the Grant County Fair in Moses Lake

Magician Jeff Evans wins the audience over at the Grant County Fair in Moses Lake

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Summer 2016 Public Magic Shows

Be the first to know about Jeff Evans' upcoming magic shows at www.facebook.com/jeffevansmagic

Be the first to know about Jeff Evans’ upcoming magic shows at www.facebook.com/jeffevansmagic

Summer is a busy time with festivals and events.  This is a great time to catch one of magician Jeff Evans’ shows near you!

 

June 2016 Public Performances

Friday, June 3 at 8:00 pm – Sammamish Parks and Recreation @ City Hall

Thursday, June 9 at 6:00 pm – Moscow, Idaho Parks

Saturday, June 18 at 10:30 am – Maple Valley Library

Saturday, June 18 at 2:00 pm – Richmond Beach Library

Monday, June 20th at 6:30 pm – Marysville Library

Tuesday, June 21 at 11:00 am – Bonney Lake Library

Tuesday, June 21 at 3:00pm – South Hill Library

Wednesday, June 22 at 10:30 am – Montesano Timberland Library

Wednesday, June 22 at 10:30 am – 2:00pm – Hoquiam Timberland Library

Thursday, June 23 at 3:00 pm – Moore Tacoma Library

Friday, June 24 at Valley View Library (held at the Matt Griffin YMCA in DesMoines)

Friday, June 24 at Boulevard Park Library

Saturday, June 25 at 11:00am – Brier Library

Saturday, June 25 at 1:30 pm – Mountlake Terrace Library

Monday, June 27 at Duvall Library

Tuesday, June 28 at 6:30 pm – Lacey Huntamer Park (sponsored by the City of Lacey and Lacey Timberland Library)

Wednesday, June 29 at 2:00 pm – 320th Federal Way Library

Wednesday, June 29 at 3:30 pm – 320th Federal Way Library

Wednesday, June 29 at 7:00 pm – Renton Highlands Library

Thursday, June 30th at 2:00 pm – Ocean Shores Library

Magician Jeff Evans at one of his three shows for the Port Angeles Library

Magician Jeff Evans at one of his three shows for the Port Angeles Library

July 2016 Public Performances

Monday, July 4 at 6:30 pm – Tumwater Artesian Festival & Thunder Valley Fireworks

Tuesday, July 5 at 10:30 am – Bainbridge Island Library

Tuesday, July 5 at 1:30 pm – Little Boston Library

Tuesday, July 5 at 6:30 pm – Silverdale Library

Wednesday, July 6 at 11:00 am – North Mason Timberland Library

Wednesday, July 6 at 3:30 pm – Shelton Timberland Library

Thursday, July 7 at 11:00 am – Yelm Timberland Library

Thursday, July 7 at 1:00 pm – Yelm Timberland Library

Friday, July 8 at 2:00 pm – Rainier Beach Library

Saturday, July 9 at 11:00 am – Greenwood Library

Saturday, July 9 at 2:30 pm – Kirkland Library

Saturday, July 9 at 7:00 pm – Thunderbird RV Park & Campground (Monroe)

Sunday, July 10 at 2:00 pm – Fremont Library

Monday, July 11 at 11:00 am – Bremerton Library

Monday, July 11 at 6:00 pm – Kingston Library

Wednesday, July 13 at 10:00 am – Waldport Library (Oregon)

Wednesday, July 13 at 1:00 pm – Newport Library (Oregon)

Wednesday, July 13 at 6:30 pm – Driftwood Libary (Lincoln City)

Thursday, July 14 at 11:00 am – Toledo Library (Oregon)

Thursday, July 14 at 1:00 pm – Siletz Library (Oregon)

Saturday, July 16 at 12:45 pm – Covington Days Festival

Monday, July 18 at 11:00 am – Sumner Library

Monday, July 18 at 2:00 pm – Milton Library

Monday, July 18 at 7:00 pm – Mercer Island Library

Tuesday, July 19 at 11:00 am – Bellevue Library

Tuesday, July 19 at 2:00 pm – Kingsgate Library

Tuesday, July 19 at 7:00 pm – Bothell Library

Wednesday, July 20 at 11:00 am – Southcenter Mall

Wednesday, July 20 at 3:00 pm – Woodmont Library

Wednesday, July 20 at 6:00 pm – Fairwood Library

Thursday, July 21 at 1:00 pm – Montlake Library

Friday, July 22 at 10:30 am  – Gig Harbor Library

Friday, July 22 at 2:0o pm – Lakewood Library

Saturday, July 23 at 2:00 pm – Lake Forest Park Library

Monday, July 25 at 10:30 am – University Place Library

Monday, July 25 at 2:00 pm – High Point Library

Tuesday, July 26 at 1:00 pm – Sammamish Library

Tuesday, July 26 at 4:00 pm – Covington Library

Wednesday, July 27 at 1:00 pm – Auburn Kids Summerstage @ Les Gove Park

Thursday, July 28 at 11:30 am – Olympia Hands-On Children’s Museum (requires paid admission)

Tuesday, July 26 at 4:00 pm – Covington Library

Saturday, July 30 at 2:00 pm – Ballard Library

Sunday, July 31 at 2:00 pm – Burien Library

 

Jeff Evans, Jules with Atlas Robotics, and ventriloquist Jerry Breeden

Jeff Evans, Jules with Atlas Robotics, and ventriloquist Jerry Breeden

August 2016 Public Performances

Tuesday, August 2 at 7:15 pm – Lake Wilderness Home Owner’s Association National Night Out (Maple Valley)

Tuesday, August 6 at 12:00 pm – Richmond Beach Saltwater Park

Wednesday, August 10 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm – Science Magic Show + Workshops at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse (admission fee)

Thursday, August 11 at various times – Pierce County Fair (Graham)

Friday, August 12 at various times – Pierce County Fair (Graham)

Saturday, August 13 at various times – Pierce County Fair (Graham)

Sunday, August 14 at various times – Pierce County Fair (Graham)

Tuesday, August 16 at various times – Grant County Fair (Moses Lake)

Wednesday, August 17 at various times – Grant County Fair (Moses Lake)

Thursday, August 18 at various times – Grant County Fair (Moses Lake)

Friday, August 19 at various times – Grant County Fair (Moses Lake)

Saturday, August 20 at various times – Grant County Fair (Moses Lake)

Thursday, August 25 at 1:00 pm – Buckley Youth Activity Center

 

Showtime! Families ready for magic at the Bryant Blast

Showtime! Families ready for magic at the Bryant Blast

September 2016 Public Performances

September 9 – 18 – Spokane Interstate Fair (admission fee required; performances times vary)

 

Need more details about a performance?  Call Jeff Evans in Olympia at 360-412-5064 or toll-free 877-412-5064 or send e-mail to jeff[at]amazementproductions.com.  Jeff also entertains for private parties, businesses, and organizations throughout western Washington and northwest Oregon.

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CORT Party Rentals Open House

Forget what you think about “party rental” companies; CORT Party Rental’s showroom is more like browsing an upscale retail store.  Sure, they have chairs, tables, tents, and place settings.  BUT – they have it more colors and styles than Baskin Robbins!  CORT Party Rentals in Everett hosted their grand opening at their huge new warehouse and I was on hand to provide close-up magical entertainment.

CORT Party Rentals (21)

I don’t know how many square feet their warehouse is, but it’s HUGE.  There are towering racks of dishes, plates, cutlery, and glasses.  Mountains of cloth in every color of the rainbow.  Automated racks that put any dry cleaning company to shame.  And, the “tent washing station” – fascinating stuff!

 

Seattle magician Jeff Evans entertains with close-up magic

Seattle magician Jeff Evans entertains with close-up magic

After the tour of the facility, attendees were treated to a buffet proved by many different catering companies.  A DJ was spinning vinyl, the Beatniks performed live on stage in a huge tent showcasing what CORT does best, and I performed strolling magic to add pizzazz to the event.

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Event Production Tips

Event Production Sound,
Stage, and Lighting Tips

Little Details Make a Big Difference
by Jeff Evans

Understanding the basics of sound, lighting, and staging can’t make a presentation, but not knowing can break it!  This article is designed for people planning an event who aren’t professional event planners or production specialists.  A lot of my observations here are simply from experience.  I have no official training or certifications, but I present hundreds of performances each year at venues ranging from hotel banquet rooms to conference centers to school gymnasiums.  Working in all sorts of situations, both good and bad, highlights the importance of sound, lighting, and staging to any presentation.

Although you can’t transform a dining room into a lecture hall, there are lots of things that are within your control to transform your event from good to great.  You won’t receive an award or recognition for doing these things, because they’re often invisible to the casual attendee.  However, observing these rules and suggestions will make your job much more pleasant!

Applying basic event production tips makes your event run smoother

Applying basic event production tips makes your event run smoother

Sounds Good to Me

As a general rule, I like a sound system when I’m presenting for fifty or more people.  This is flexible; sometimes room acoustics are great and you can easily speak to over a hundred with no sound reinforcement.

There are many details involved in setting up a sound system and properly using a microphone.  (In fact, just thinking about the possibilities convinced me to write a more complete article.)  Here are a few basics.

Types of Microphones

The basic types of microphones you’ll likely see are handheld, podium-mounted, lapel, and headset microphones.

Handheld microphones may be wired or wireless.  If you’re not moving from the stage to speak, wired is great.  They are reliable, don’t require batteries, and difficult to lose or misplace.  On the other hand, if you’re walking about the room, or perhaps handing it to different people who speak (for a roast or toast, etc.),  the freedom of a wireless microphone is wonderful.

Tip:  no mic stand and need to go hands-free?  A short length of cord or ribbon can be tied around the microphone to hang like a necklace.  (Commercially available mic holders are available.  Look up “gimcrack.”)

Lapel microphones are hands-free so your presenter can gesture, move about, pick up props, display items, etc.  Tip: clip the microphone element high up on the shirt.  Too low and you will need to increase the volume level which increases the chances of feedback.  Of the types of microphones mentioned here, lapel microphones tend to be the most prone to feedback.  The reason is that the mic element is located several inches away from the mouth.  This requires more gain, and the higher the volume, the more apt the microphone is to pick up sound coming from the speaker.  Poof – feedback!  Be sure you don’t walk in front of a speaker wearing a lapel wireless.

Tip:  Test for feedback before the event begins by walking around the venue with the microphone on at the sound level you expect to use for presentations.  See if there are feedback hot spots to avoid later.

Headset microphones give you the hands-free advantage of a lapel microphone with better gain-before-feedback more typical of a handheld microphone.  It can take a little time to get used to the feel of having something clipped to your ear and hovering by the side of your mouth.   Another disadvantage:  you can’t easily hand it off from person to person for multiple speakers.

The Salem Convention Center hosts the Oregon Fairs Association convention

The Salem Convention Center hosts the Oregon Fairs Association convention

Preventing Feedback

Nothing is more annoying than the squeal of feedback!  Interestingly, it’s one of the easiest situations to fix once you understand how it occurs.  Feedback is sound from the speaker traveling back into the microphone, then being amplified.  This “feedback loop” magnifies and intensifies and quickly becomes the high-pitched squeal that everyone hates.  The solution is simple:  know where the speakers in the room are pointing and don’t walk in front of them carrying the microphone.

Tip: If you need to adjust the volume of music or a microphone, adjust the control for that one channel only.  Don’t change the master control, as doing so immediately changes the volume on every other input.

Here’s a sample situation:  Mary is speaking into a microphone on channel #1.  John has his microphone plugged into channel #2.  Mary is soft-spoken and hard to hear, so you move the master level up.  John begins speaking and -AAGH – feedback!  Adjust the individual channel levels rather than the master level.

Tip:  Microphones typically plug into a mixer that has volume control for multiple channels.  This way several sources can be plugged in and adjusted independently.  Some mixers are easy to operate, others are complicated.  Either have a knowledgeable staff on hand to help adjust the sound level when presentations begin or learn how to adjust it yourself.

Tip:  If you’re using a PowerPoint or video presentation, check both the video and audio in advance and know how to turn these devices on and off and adjust volume.

Tip:  Using video but there is no way to connect the audio from your laptop to the sound system?  In a pinch, turn up the speakers on the laptop and then place a hand-held microphone near the computer or portable speakers.  The microphone will pick up and amplify the sound coming from the laptop.  It’s not as good as a direct connection, but will work in a pinch.

Tip:  If the venue has portable speakers (or you’re providing and setting up your own portable sound system), be sure and use speaker stands to elevate the speakers to at least the ear height of your audience.  Speakers on the floor are not nearly as effective.

Tip:  Place speakers at the front of the stage/performance area pointing towards the audience.  This arrangement virtually eliminates feedback.  If your presenter wants to be able to hear themselves, your sound technician can add a small speaker as a monitor pointing back at the presenter.

 

Magician Jeff Evans silhouetted by lights at the Festival of Illusions in Lincoln City, OR

Magician Jeff Evans silhouetted by lights at the Festival of Illusions in Lincoln City, OR

Light it Up

Years ago a comic friend of mine told me that the sound system is the number one element, but that good lighting was close behind it.  He posed this question:  in a comedy club, where is all the light?  On the stage, where the performer is.  Everything else is in shadows.  People’s eyes and attention are naturally drawn to the presenter on stage.

Now picture the standard banquet room where your annual awards banquet or holiday party takes place.  Dark, isn’t it?  I perform magic, so it’s important that people can see me and what I’m doing.  I travel with my own compact lights when I perform because it truly makes a difference.   You don’t necessarily need to go to those lengths, but when you arrive to set up for the event check out the room lighting.  Find out where the light controls and dimmers are.

Does everything look good?  You’re not home free yet!  A change always happens between the afternoon when you are setting up and the evening when presentations begin.  The sun goes down, the catering staff turns off the work lights, and lights are dimmed for ambience.  Be sure to ask staff in advance to set the lights the way you need them, or know how to do it yourself.

 

Stage for Success

Put your presenters where everyone can see them.  This isn’t an issue for a group of, say, 25 people, but once you get 100+ people in a banquet room it is helpful to have a platform or stage.  If one isn’t built-in, your venue can likely either provide one or recommend a production company.  The size you need depends on the number of people who will be “on stage” at any one time.  You’ll likely have a podium on stage, and possibly a table.  For small groups, an 8′ x 12′ platform is usually good.  Remember to add steps to get on/off if the height is more than an easy step.  (Handrails may be required also.)

 

Conclusion

Obviously this is very brief overview of sound, lighting, and staging.  If you’re planning an important presentation or event and need assistance, there are event production companies that specialize in doing exactly this.  In the greater Seattle area look up Pyramid Staging (www.pyramidstaging.com).

Are you planning an event and looking for outstanding entertainment?  Contact magician Jeff Evans at 360-412-5064 or send e-mail to jeff[at]amazementproductions.com.

 

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Quinceañera Magician

Quinceañera Magician

A quinceañera is the Hispanic tradition of celebrating a young girl’s coming of age – her 15th birthday. Today’s celebrations embrace religious customs, and the virtues of family and social responsibility. The Quinceanera tradition celebrates the young girl (la Quinceanera), and recognizes her journey from childhood to maturity.
The customs highlight God, family, friends, music, food, and dance. A quinceañera magician adds amazing entertainment to the celebration.  Dancing, food, family, and friends are an important part.

Teens love watching and experiencing really strong magic, and Jeff Evans is one of the greater Seattle area’s best and most popular magicians.  Jeff performed close-up magic during the evening for Toni and her friends.

“Jeff is amazing. We hired him for my daughter’s quinceañera and he did a fantastic job at keeping both kids and adults entertained. His magic skills are truly impressive, he is one of a kind! Thank you so much Jeff for a wonderful night!!!”
-Carolina Pinzon, Bothell

Read Carolina’s review and more at https://plus.google.com/111404549068746851405/about.

Seattle magician Jeff Evans entertains at McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell. Photo by Brian David Casey.

Magician Jeff Evans entertains at McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell. Photo by Brian David Casey.

For this event Jeff performed a close-up style of magic called mingling or strolling magic.  This is interactive entertainment where Jeff travels from group to group doing amazing magic that happens just inches away.  Teens love this style of magic.  You’ll know you’ve chosen the right entertainment when you see a group crowded around the magician, totally focused and silent one moment, then erupting into laughter and applause the next!

Special thanks to event coordinator Pink Blossom Events, http://www.pinkblossomevents.com, who did a fantastic job coordinating the evening from decor to party favors to lining up the entertainment.

Are you planning a quinceanera or Sweet 16 party for your daughter?  Contact Jeff Evans in Olympia at (360) 412-5064 or toll-free (877) 412-5064 or send e-mail to jeff[at]amazementproductions.com.

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Oregon Festival of Illusions

Fun Fact:  Lincoln City, Oregon holds an annual “Festival of Illusions” dedicated to furthering the performance and art of magic.  Held during spring break when families are at the coast for rest and relaxation, this week-long event is truly one-of-a-kind.  Back by popular demand – it’s his third consecutive year – magician Jeff Evans was the feature performer kicking off the week of appearances by a variety of artists.

The News Guard featured magician Jeff Evans on the cover highlighting the Festival of Illusions

The News Guard featured magician Jeff Evans on the cover highlighting the Festival of Illusions

Festival of Illusions crew

Lincoln City Cultural Center director Niki Price, Laura Green “the Juggling Queen”, Cha-Cha the Clown, Steve, and Jeff in the lobby of Cultural Center

Festival of Illusions finale

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