Kandu Magic Show includes Dodge County Fair in farewell tour
After performing the Kandu Magic Show throughout the United States full time for 33 years, entertainers, Jef and Jill Eaton are planning to retire. They are in the midst of their farewell tour, and the 2018 Dodge County Fair is on their list for final performances.
“I think we’ve been performing at the Dodge County Fair for more than 20 years,” said Jef Eaton, who calls Orlando, Fla., home. “This is our last show in the Midwest. We have a few fairs in the spring of 2019 in Florida, but by the end of next year, we’ll be retired.”
Performing has been a major part of Jef’s life since he was a child. “I did magic when I was a kid for a while. I used to do shows when I was 9 or 10 years old, like birthday parties. Then I got into puppets for a while. Then I got into the band business when I was 14 and did some touring. In 1975, we were getting ready to have kids, and thought being in the club until the early hours was not possible anymore. So, I went and found my old trunk and did a birthday party, which went well. We started traveling part time in 1975 and went full time in 1986.”
The Kandu Magic Show has always been geared toward children ages 4-10. “I like the kids. They are just fun, and it’s fun to see the look on their faces when magic happens. It’s like getting paid to play with children. It’s pretty amazing,” noted Jef. “In addition, we’ve been doing this so long, the kids who were in our show at 6 or 7 now bring their kids at 37 years old. It’s incredible.”
Kandu Magic Show entertains children during three shows per day at the Dodge County Fair, and the same will happen this year. “We do 15 different shows for the week, so there’s not always the same thing every show. That way, people can come back and see another show, but it’s not the same. A little variety makes it fun.” In addition to the magic, Kandu also does a game show. “We originally started it for the 4-H kids who weren’t able to come see us until the last show of the day. We’ve had as many as 40 kids in it at a time. They all get some prize like a necklace, for example.”
As one can imagine, it’s hard leaving a passion behind for something new. “Saying goodbye to some of these people who’ve been our family for so long is difficult,” noted Jef. “We’re going to miss all the folks. We’ve had a great run. We’re thankful we’ve been able to play at the Dodge County Fair, as well as others, for the past years. It’s been a real blessing.”
So, what’s next for Jef and Jill: exactly the same thing as most other retiring grandparents. “We definitely plan to spend more time with our grandkids, who are in Wisconsin.”
Fairgoers can bid Jef, Jill, and the Kandu Magic Show farewell at any one of their performances during the 2018 Dodge County Fair. They can be found among the midway entertainment. Kandu Magic Show is free and part of general fair admission.
The Dodge County Fair is scheduled for Aug. 15-19, 2018.
Written by Dori Lichty – farm wife, 4-H Mom, and full-time communicator