Annual ‘24 Hour Magic Marathon’ features regional talent all for a good cause

May 5, 2023 - Jason Hugg

It’s an annual tradition that brings talented magicians from across the region to Southwest Reading. The 24 Hour Magic Marathon has begun at the Mingus Magic Shop Friday featuring a 15-minute magic show every half hour.

Since 2015, owner Wayne Shifflett has hosted the magic marathon that benefits Alex’s Lemonade Stand in memory of Shelli Lafferty. As expected, Lemonade, along with snacks, cookies, and other beverages is available for donations.

To help allow guests to enjoy all of the performances, Shifflett has split the 24 hour marathon this year into two 12 hour events, the first beginning noon to midnight Friday, and the second half beginning noon to midnight Saturday.

Last year the event raised around $1,000. Shifflett is excited about this year’s marathon and is hopeful to raise more money with the split event hours.

“It’s not just magic, performances could be juggling, puppeteers, balloons, and animals creations. Some magic will be close up at our front counter and bigger performances will be on the stage. Everything is family friendly” said Shifflett.

The Mingus Magic Shop is a hidden gem in Reading and one of the oldest magic shops in the country. The business was started in 1938 by Leroy Mingus who was known for feather flower magic. The business was purchased by Shifflett in 1976 and today in 2023 is celebrating its 85th anniversary.

“When I was 16, I just thought I’d become a magician so I went in and Leroy Mingus taught me a classic called Cups and Balls, which is probably one of the oldest tricks known to magicians” said Shifflett.

Since purchasing the business, Shifflett has worked hard to keep spirit of magic alive and to inspire a new generation of magicians. He has also put countless hours into keeping the shop itself fresh. In 2018, Shifflett unveiled a new storefront and stage. Fast forward to this week, he unveiled his latest project which, a total redesign of a forty foot shop wall, which includes new merchandise shelves, lighting and more.

The 24 Hour Magic Marathon began at noon Friday, May 5th, and runs until midnight. As a split event, the shop reopens Saturday, May 6th, for the final 12 hours between noon and midnight.

Admission is $5 for one time entry, stay as long as you like. Admission for the entire event, see as many shows as you like is $15.00, cash preferred. The Mingus Magic Shop is located at 528 Lancaster Ave in Reading.