Bill Blagg, a professional illusionist who grew up in Zion, blocked Oct. 23 off his touring schedule to perform in Gurnee as part of a massive fundraising effort driven by a fellow magician.
Blagg, part of one of the largest touring illusion shows, and dozens of other performers are taking time out of their busy schedules to honor show organizer Jim Stanislawski's daughter, Jackie. The Warren High School graduate died in a car accident late in 2003. She just was 20.
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The young woman would often assist her father on stage when he did his magic.
After the accident, her family discovered she had taken it upon herself to launch her own food drive to support local families during the holiday season. At the time, no one knew of her mission.
Now her family is making sure hundreds realize what she was doing to help her community.
A year after Jackie's death her father held the first show, Jackie's Magic, as a fundraising effort in her name. The concept has continued to grow every year. The magic show is free to guests who bring canned food to the event. All food and money collected will benefit the Warren Township Food Pantry.
Doors open at 5:45 p.m. at High School O'Plaine Auditorium in Gurnee. Magicians and balloon artists will meet with guests before a 90-minute performance that begins at 7 p.m.
Last year 3,200 pounds of food were collected.
Joe Diamond, who does magic full time, has been part of the show for four years. "It's a great group of magicians. "The simple fact is that it's being done for a fantastic cause, said Diamond, 22.
Diamond, who grew up in Wonder Lake, was part of Great America's street performance magic team before he started doing magic full time.
This is the first time Blagg is taking part of the show. "It's a great cause and a great event to be part of. There's so much positive around it, the Zion High School graduate said.
Jake Prosek, 19, will do a comedy act during the show. Prosek lives in Montgomery and is a student at Aurora University.
The event is planned on Make A Difference Day, a national effort designed to promote helping others.
"This is going to be a really neat event, said organizer Stanislawski. The show drew 575 people last year. The Gurnee resident continues to do magic part time while working in the engineering department at BRP US Inc. in Waukegan.
Featured magicians include Mark and Sue Holstein, Joe Diamond, Bill Blagg III, Circus Boy, Big Bob Coleman, Jake Prosek, Fizbin Xanatos and Stanislawski. Marshall Brodien also is expected to make a guest appearance.
For more, check out Jackiesmagic.com.
Trick or treat: If you don't have your Halloween costume yet, Halloween City is operating in several vacant shops throughout in the suburbs. Stores recently opened in the Annex of Arlington, 1-115 W. Rand Road in Arlington Heights; in Lake Zurich at 825 S. Rand Road and at Heritage Square, 404 S. Route 59 in Naperville.
Toys: Looking ahead to Christmas, Toys 'R Us is taking the same approach as the Halloween stores have done for the past few years. The specialty toy store is launching its "pop-up concept through the holidays. So far, the new stores have opened in Westview Center on Barrington Road in Hanover Park, Prime Outlets Huntley, Woodfield Shopping Center, Stratford Square Mall in Bloomingdale and at 796 S. Rand Road in Lake Zurich.
Sports theme: Sports Clips, a national hair-care provider for men and boys, recently opened at a new outlot at 195 S. Rand Road in front of the Holiday Inn Express in Lake Zurich. And Home Run Sports and Fitness in Lake Zurich is hosting an open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, at its facility at 143 E. Main St. The event is being held to celebrate it s third year in operation. Free food and drink, speed and agility demonstrations, soccer demonstrations and free batting cages will be part of the event.
Da Coach: Mike Ditka will meet fans and sign autographs at an upcoming appearance at the new Motor Werks Certified Sales & Service Outlet, 1100 E. Roosevelt Road, Wheaton. As a spokesman for Motor Werks Companies, Ditka will be at the outlet from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19. The new business is Motor Werk's fifth retail location among its 38-year retail luxury automotive presence in the area.
Kim Mikus covers small buisness. She welcomes information at firstname.lastname@example.org.