Jester high jinks: Joey the Magic Clown wows boisterous youth at VFW show

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PITTSFIELD >> On Sunday afternoon, Joey the Magic Clown tried to transform Elias Ramos, a 7-year-old Muggle from Pittsfield, into Harry Potter.

Joey had Elias put on the literary sorcerer's trademark glasses and don a wizards hat. The magic trick went arwy when Joey removed the hat revealing a plumbing implement atop the youngsters head.

"He's not Harry Potter, he's Harry Plunger," exclaimed the jovial jester.

Joey the Magic Clown, a.k.a Joey Purvis from Vermont, headlined the children's annual Comedy Magic Show sponsored the Pittsfield VFW Post 448. Dozens of girls and boys accompanied by their parents nearly packed the main hall at the American Legion Post 68. Joey's slight-of-hand and goofy one-liners played well to the boisterous youth, many winning various raffle prizes or one of the clown's balloon animals.

The nearly 100 people in attendance was a bit of a surprise to organizers, given the warm, sunny day which have been few and far between in April.

"The show gets better each year and the crowds are great," said Arnold "Arnie" Perras, Post 448 commander. "We're always looking for fun events."

The veterans organization first hosted the comedy magic show — free of charge — at the suggestion of Linda Brandt, the widow of a Marine who served in the Vietnam War. She also has a son, a captain in the Army.

For almost 30 years, the Kingston, N.Y. woman has been helping American Legion's around the region stage such events, in part, to draw attention to veterans especially to the younger generation. The first one she promoted was in Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard.

Sunday's show was through the generosity of businesses providing tickets to families throughout the Berkshires.

"I feel it's important for veterans to get recognition and Joey will talk about the veterans.

During the show, Joey asked the children and adults to give a salute to Perras and the other veterans on hand for their military service.

Amy and Matthew Goddard of Dalton were first time attendees of the VFW comedy magic show, watching their son Aiden, 7 and 1-year-old daughter Reagen enjoy the show from the back of the hall.

"We're shocked [Reagen] is sitting still, but she's with her brother and other children," said Mrs. Goddard.

With plenty of daylight left when the 90-minute show wrapped up about 3:30 p.m., the Goddards still planned to have an outdoor summer-like experience.

"We're going to get ice cream and then go to Onota Lake afterwards," she said.

Contact Dick Lindsay 413 496-6233


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