For Bakersfield's next trick, it will conjure a convention bringing skilled performers to town this week for an event last held here 30 years ago.

The Pacific Coast Association of Magicians, founded in 1933, includes chapters in the Pacific Rim, including Japan, Hawaii, California and Western Canada. The annual convention draws hundreds to network, pick up some tricks and enjoy the city they're in.

So you may ask, why Bakersfield?

It starts with Christopher Lopez, current PCAM president, who pitched his town last April to a board of past presidents who help pick the site.

"I said, 'It's centrally located, close to Fresno, L.A, Las Vegas, the coast,'" he said. "The group of past presidents, they said, 'We’re giving you a chance. Don’t prove us wrong.'"

With the pressure on, Lopez has been planning for almost a year and a half.

"With a lot of magic conventions, you've been to one, you've been to them all. I wanted to bring people to our town who have not been to a PCAM in years."

Performers set to lecture and perform include Joshua J, Chris Capehart and Andy Gladwin.

The event runs four days, with evening programming Thursday, including opening ceremony and show as well as "Viva Los Tacos" taco bar and pool party; two full days of lectures, contests and performances on Friday and Saturday; and wrapping up Sunday with awards and a final show.

Although they'll be revealing some secrets, don't expect one-on-one work, Lopez said. Those interested in magic as a hobby or considering a side gig will have things to learn as well as those already in the game.

Lopez said, "If you want to learn about business marketing, getting into children's performances, building a character, we welcome you."

Most everything is for attendees only, with the exception of two public shows: “Beyond Imagination: A One Time Magical Event” on Friday and “Magicians No Wands Required” on Saturday.

"Beyond Imagination" features the talents of Chris Capehart, character magician Master Payne, Elliott Hunter and Aaron O'Brien.

"I wanted to go funny but didn't want to go large," Lopez said of booking the performers who will perform parlor magic.

The next night brings "No Wands," an all-female magic show including Heather McNeill, Kayla Drescher, Carisa Hendrix, Lorena Watters and Sandra McNeill.

Lopez said the women's talents run the gamut including comedy, closeup, stage, variety and mentalism.

The president is looking forward to getting this convention underway and showing residents that we can draw in the talent.

"I’m really excited to bring all these large-name magicians to town. I’m very honored and privileged to have them come to Bakersfield."

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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