If you have a corporate or private event coming up, you may consider hiring a magician to walk around and entertain your guests with close-up magic. Magic is a great choice for many events, but there are a couple of times that you should NEVER hire a strolling magician. In fact, hiring a strolling magician during these times could completely ruin your guests’ experience at your event.

First, what exactly is “strolling magic”? In a nutshell, strolling magic is an act performed by a professional magician who walks around your event, greeting small groups of guests and performing close-up magic tricks while mingling with your crowd. The magic may consist of cards, coins, phones, and other small items. This is a different type of act than a stage magic show that your entire audience sits and watches together.

Strolling magic works especially well early on in your event to break the ice as guests arrive. While it won’t completely ruin your event to have strolling magic later in the evening, we’ll address when NOT to have a strolling magician in just a moment.

Here are just some of the events where strolling magic is a great idea:

-Cocktail hours

-Networking events

-Wedding receptions (before the wedding party enters)

-Corporate fundraisers

-Large birthday parties with adults (40+ guests)

-Office open house events

-Grand openings

Now, let’s talk about the 3 cases where you should NEVER hire a strolling magician:

Your event is very small
If you have a small event with less than 25 people, a strolling magic performance can quickly turn into a situation where everyone at the event crowds around to watch the magician perform. This becomes a problem because a typical strolling magic act will only consist of a set of 5-10 minutes of magic. This allows the magician to move from group to group while storing all necessary props in pockets instead of lugging around a case full of magic tricks. If all of your guests come over to see the magician perform during the first set, the show will essentially be over 10 minutes into your event! It is recommended to hire a strolling magician only if your event has a MINIMUM of 30 guests. For events with a lower headcount, it is recommended to ask the magician to perform a small parlor show that all of the guests can watch together. Most magicians will offer both strolling and stage magic shows,
depending on the size of your event.

It is already more than halfway into your evening
I once worked an event for a client who was set on having me perform late into their program, after dinner and awards had been presented. Unfortunately, by the time I was scheduled to perform, the guests had all been at the event for over 3 hours, and started leaving right as I was about to greet the first table.If you have an event scheduled for 3 hours, and the program consists of a cocktail hour, silent auction, dinner, and an awards presentation, the strolling magic should be scheduled early in the evening during the cocktail hour. This is because strolling magic serves as a perfect icebreaker as your guests arrive. When guests begin to arrive at your event, they may not know the other people who have arrived, or they may not have much to do besides stand around and make small talk over drinks. This is the perfect time for a magician to walk over and break the ice with incredible feats of sleight of hand! Once your program gets underway, your guests will enjoy their meals and engage with whatever is happening on stage. After a few hours, most guests will be ready to leave rather than wait for a magician to come around to their table.

During the meal
This is the NUMBER ONE time that you should absolutely never have strolling magic at your event. In fact, I believe it will actually take away from your guests’ experience and ruin their evening if you schedule a performance during this time. Imagine this: you’ve arrived to an event hungry, enjoyed a drink during cocktail hour, found your seat at your table, looked over the courses about to be served as you eagerly await your meal. Finally, the servers make their way to your table and the plates hit the table. The food looks and smells amazing. Your mouth waters as you reach for your fork to take your very first bite of the meal you’ve been looking forward to all evening. And then, a magician walks up to your table and asks you to pick a card. Or think of a number. Or hold a prop. The performance continues as several others at the table attempt to respond to the magician’s questions with a mouth full of food. A magic trick happens, and it might have been a good one, but you were looking down at your plate trying to get a bite of food before your meal goes cold. For the next 10 minutes, everyone at the table attempts to enjoy their meal, but the magician’s act requires their attention and participation in order for the magic to work. The magician bids you farewell and makes his way to a nearby table, but your food is now approaching room temperature. Another guest at your table was asked to help with a trick, and she has barely taken a bite of her food while the other guests at the table were at least able to finish half of their plates. Why couldn’t the magician just come around during cocktail hour while drinks were served before the meal? This is the situation you could very easily find yourself in if you schedule a magic act to take place during a meal. I want your event to be elevated by my performance, which is why I never perform while meals are being eaten. Again: strolling magic is a great choice for cocktail hour, but never ever when meals are on the table.

    I hope this has been helpful information for you in planning your event. If you’re interested in adding a magical experience to your upcoming corporate event, use the contact form on this site for a fast response on how we can work together.