I was fortunate to discover the Harry Allen “Daytona Beach Festival of Magic” back in 2016, a little bit by accident. I must admit I enjoyed some wonderful moments there. It was amazing the convention took place at all! Just days before the convention was to start, Hurricane Matthew hit! The storm was downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 3 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale — but it was still very powerful, packing dangerous winds of 120 mph, according to the US National Hurricane Center. Daytona Beach was hit hard. The hotel and conference center for Harry’s convention had to be closed due to damages.
I must congratulate Harry and his team for being able to find a new hotel and venue in remarkably little time And what a venue they found! The convention took place at the very prestigious Daytona International Speedway, the oval speedway where the famous Daytona 500 NASCAR race takes place. Being able to attend shows and lectures while drivers practiced and cars roared just a few meters from us was truly an unforgettable experience!
The artists lecturing and/or performing were also very talented. Some actually fooled me! I remember being baffled by Karl Heinz' Rubik’s Cube routine.
Last but not least this Convention was also the opportunity to make new friends. For example, I met John and Denise Holly from Tampa, Florida, who took good care of me while I was there. I had no car, they had one, and it was a drive between the hotel and the speedway - and we remain in contact to today!
This November I will be returning to Daytona Beach to attend the 18th annual convention and I will compete in the Close Up competition, doing a 7 to 8 minute sleight of hand cards piece I have been working on for a long time now… but let's keep it a secret for the moment!