HANFORD — “Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things since breakfast,” The White Queen says in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.”
The guests of Hanford Parks and Recreation’s Daddy/Daughter and Mother/Son dances this weekend at the Civic Auditorium will witness at least six impossible things during the event thanks to local magician The Great Jonathan.
“I do a lot a lot of comedy and audience participation with the kids,” The Great Jonathan Vasquez said. “I like to get them to participate in the show and to just keep them laughing throughout it.”
Vasquez will perform at both dances — Mother Son Date Night is scheduled for 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday and Daddy Daughter Date Night is scheduled for 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets for each event are $50 per pair and $23 for each additional child.
Vasquez has been performing magic around the country for over 41 years, appearing on stages in Las Vegas and even on “Sesame Street.”
The magician said his most popular illusions are the ones centered around linking rings and, of course, his appearing and disappearing animals.
Once an owner of multiple mountain lions and tigers that would appear in his acts, Vasquez’ stage show is scaled down now to include bunnies and doves – partly because those animals don’t need to eat 80 turkeys a day the way his larger cats did.
The key to Vasquez’ shows, he said, was to keep the tricks on auto fire.
“I don’t like to bore people with one trick every 10 minutes,” he said. “I do one after another.”
Vasquez became interested in the world of illusion while he was fighting cancer in 1977. A trick deck of cards kept him busy as he battled the disease and went through a year of chemotherapy. Once he was in recovery, he devoted himself to learning the trade full time.
He now performs with a crew of assistants that include his wife and grandchildren.
The theme for this year’s dances is “Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.”
Recreation Supervisor Susie Chavez says the weekend of parent/child dances are always one of Parks and Rec’s most anticipated events of the year.
Chavez said that one of the highlights of the event is to see families come to the event year after year. One father/daughter duo came for years, finally ending their streak the year she got engaged to be married. Another time, a mother brought her son to one event and the next night, came to the other with her father.
“It was really cute — and her brother came with her daughter, so it was a family affair,” Chavez said. “It was really cool to see that.”
Visitors are encouraged to dress for the theme, arriving in their best Wonderland tea party attire.
Tickets include dinner provided by Irwin Street Inn, and performances by the Great Jonathan and DJ Ralph Avila. Professional photos can be taken for an additional fee.
For more information, call 559-362-3212.