Conscious party: Magical Moments of Asheville

HUMOR ME: Walter Beals, left, and Keith Campbell of comedic juggling troupe Forty Fingers & a Missing Tooth will perform at the inaugural Magic Moments of Asheville festival. "Their wit is so entertaining, they really don't even need to juggle," says organizer T.J. Shimeld. "But their skill and dexterity just add to their entertainment value." Photo by Jim Julien

WHAT: A magic festival benefiting The Vanishing Wheelchair and Rainbow Community School

WHERE: Rainbow Community School

WHEN: Friday-Saturday, April 28-29

WHY: Through intervals of juggling, card tricks, storytelling, balloon twisting and more, a new, two-day festival aims to showcase Asheville’s most enchanted people and activities.

The Magical Moments of Asheville is “an indoor festival with an emphasis on education and fun,” says organizer T.J. Shimeld, co-founder of local nonprofit The Vanishing Wheelchair. Its mission is “helping people with disabilities find their passion and meaning through the arts.”

Kicking off the festival on Friday night will be an extended version of the organization’s Magic Mirth and Meaning variety show by disabled individuals. It emphasizes magic, Shimeld explains, because illusions remind the audience that a first glance or impression isn’t always reliable.”

“You have to be able to look beyond that, look beyond the illusion, to see what the reality is of an individual,” he says. So, the performance is “not just the people showing their talent. It’s showing talent within that deeper meaning.”

On Saturday, the schedule transitions to interactive programming, including classes on magic tricks, balloon twisting and juggling for beginners. Later, Appalachian Faerie Folk School founder Vixi Jil Glenn will tell faerie stories, lead crafts and host “an enchanted walkabout” if weather permits. Plus, professional and semiprofessional magicians of the Western North Carolina Magic Club will perform before a cast of local entertainers closes with a grand finale called The Magical Moments of Asheville.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will be shared between the Vanishing Wheelchair and Rainbow Community School, which Shimeld calls “a wonderful place about acceptance” that teaches students to think deeply.

Visit for a full festival schedule or to purchase tickets for individual events ($10 per adult and $5 per child for most sessions except balloon twisting). Tickets are also available at Rainbow Community School and will be sold on site as space permits.


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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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