Looking for a magical way to spend a day? The first ever Utah Art of Magic Festival will be held on July 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the historic Provo City Library Ballroom, 550 N. University Ave. The event is free and will be enjoyable for the whole family.

According to Jason Carling, magician and co-organizer, the festival was planned because magic is fun as well as educational.

“Even though magic is a performing art, as magicians, we also have to study science, math, technology and even history in order to create effects that look impossible,” he said. “Magic helps us understand how the world around us works and helps us to think logically, which in turn, can help us come up with solutions to real life situations and problems.”

Magic also has social benefits to those participating because it is a performing art that requires interaction with others.

“As a magician, we have to imagine what the other person is thinking and feeling during a performance. You can develop great empathy skills and a sense of respect towards others by learning magic,” Carling said.

There will be several different guest magicians performing magic at hourly shows on the main stage in the ballroom. Even more magicians will be performing in the “Close-up Circle of Magic,” geared to children ages three through 12. Another “Close-up Circle of Magic” will be geared to teens and adults.

In “The Secret Room,” there will be a lecture titled, “Magic and the Paranormal” by magicians and paranormal investigators. There will also be magic classes, including some taught by Carling, as well as other guest speakers during the day.

The artisan row will be comprised of local artists displaying and selling their works, mimes, face painters and balloon artists. There will also be magic crafts for kids to create. A Kids’ Corner will include fun facts, an art of magic display, optical illusions and photo opportunities.

The organizers of The Utah Art of Magic Festival plan to make this an annual event that will continue to grow. In the future, the festivals will include even more displays and activities centered around wonder, curiosity and learning.

If the festival piques your child’s curiosity in the art of magic, there are more opportunities available. Carling has started Utah Valley Magic Academy for kids ages 8-12. Participants can learn the eight traits of a true magician, magic secrets and magic props. When they complete the course, they will receive a colored magic wand and certificate of advancement, which allows them to proceed to the next magic course. They can continue until they earn the black magic wand.

There has been so much interest in these courses that Carling is now organizing some for teens and adults that will be available in the coming months.

For more information about the magic academy and the festival, go to www.utahvalleymagicacademy.com. Also, check out the Facebook page at Utah Valley Magic Academy.

Laura Giles is a long-time correspondent for the Daily Herald and a community member living in Pleasant Grove. She can be contacted at LauraCGiles@gmail.com.