Tim Spinosa is a master of prestidigitation.
Simpler said, the Baton Rouge magician has “quick fingers,” using sleight of hand techniques to manipulate objects such as cards and money secretly. He’s been entertaining visitors at the Greater Baton Rouge State Fair with his close-up magic tricks for seven years and is returning this year.
“Basically my style is a David Blaine, Criss Angel type of magic, except I don’t do it with an evil twist like Criss Angel. I do magic with a fun, lighthearted family approach,” Spinosa said.
Spinosa is one of the fair’s walk-around attractions.
“I walk around mainly the food court, but I walk the whole fair. I could be at the entrance, at the food court, in the beer tent, but mainly the food court,” he said.
Spinosa, who was a performing musician, made a quick transition to magic around 17 years ago.
“I saw a magician performing in New Orleans, and I was captivated by it, and immediately just jumped into it. Once I saw that guy perform, I actually purchased a couple of things from him and seven months later I was the house magician at Casino Rouge (now Hollywood Casino),” he said.
Spinosa was the house magician there for 3½ years, and also has performed at casinos and events all over the U.S. In addition, Spinosa has invented a few magic tricks of his own, which can be found in magic shops and online, he said.
“One is the animated deck. The actual deck of cards is blank and then mysteriously it has animation on the back of it. You flip through it and the animation brings the character to life, and the character shows you your selected card,” Spinosa explained.
He’s also invented a locking deck, and a trick called “Mystic Frog,” in which a cute little animated frog finds the location of a selected card. Spinosa’s been featured in MAGIC magazine, and the International Brotherhood of Magic and Society of American Magicians publications, among others. He owns Baton Rouge company X-tremeTalent.com, which provides live entertainment (including Spinosa himself, stiltwalkers, costumed characters, etc.) and party rentals, for corporate and other events.
Get tired of the magic and you can take a listen to another strolling entertainer, Larry “Washboard Willy” Hiskett, who, with his washboard and other musical items, is a one-man band. According to his biography, “in 1987, while Kiskett was recovering from injuries from a motorcycle accident he decided he needed to make a life-altering change and went into show business. In 1992, he was invited to be an ambassador to Japan as a strolling musician and he began offering musical instruments to children to bridge the communication gap. Today he tours with his wife ‘Wishboard Wanda.’”
It’s hard to miss “Tall Tex” Don Cassady, also a regular at the fair. His many characters include the Robot, the Scarecrow and the Cowboy. “His ability to stand in one position until you least expect it brings joy and laughter to all,” his biography states.
The fair’s biggest attraction is the Reed Exposition Midway, according to the fair’s chairman emeritus J.H. Martin.
“I don’t know if they’re bringing anything new this year, but they’re our biggest draw by far,” Martin said of the amusement rides.
The full slate of live music offers acts including the Allison Collins Band, the Crescent City Soul Band, TimeWarp and Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience. On Halloween night, festival-goers can rock out to the Prairieville-based Shatter Display followed by Baton Rouge’s Black Magnolia. Country artists Christian Serpas & Ghost Town close out the festival on Sunday, Nov. 4.
And in between munching on cotton candy, funnel cakes and sausage on a stick, visitors can take the kids to the Great American Petting Zoo or on a pony ride. Competition-type shows are the Junior Rabbit and Poultry Show, the Junior Goat Show, a jam, jelly and pie-baking competition, the Junior Dairy Show and the Junior Beef Breeding Show. And don’t forget the lawn-tractor pull and mutton bustin’ events.
Proceeds from the fair benefit the Baton Rouge State Fair Foundation’s Worthy Cause Program, which promote educational, cultural, and other opportunities for children and young people in the greater Baton Rouge area who have demonstrated achievement or who may be in need. This is done by funding projects sponsored by area non-profit volunteer organizations. More than $2.4 million has been returned to the community since 1987.
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