By Iuliana Petre
Killeen Daily Herald
Move over hocus-pocus and alakazam. There's a new magic phrase in town – "stinky rabbit tennis shoes" – a phrase so powerful it can make a rabbit appear in a large tin container.
But beware, amateurs, it may not work for you as well as it did for "Dareington the nearly great," a local magician who performed at Saturday's Kidsville, an event sponsored by Killeen Parks and Recreation, at the Killeen Community Center.
Richard Williams, the mastermind behind "Dareington the nearly great," was the first entertainer, kicking off several hours of performances, which included a reptile show and a display by the Austin Reptile Service; Nana Pudding, a variety show; and a second magic show in the afternoon.
Many of Williams' family-friendly acts required audience participation. Children, hoping to be selected, eagerly threw their hands in the air.
During one of his acts, Williams selected Jessica Bernier, an 8-year-old and a third-grader from Pershing Park Elementary School, to help him make chocolate milk.
Williams poured milk into Jessica's ear from a glass jug (not really, this was part of the act), then handed her a few pieces of chocolate to eat. He then selected Bethany Pace, a 7-year-old third-grader, to help with the act.
Williams instructed Bethany to pump Jessica's arm as he held a funnel and jug beneath Jessica's other elbow. Chocolate milk poured into the jug the faster that Bethany pumped Jessica's arm.
Several similar tricks involved two of Williams' kids, Emily and Thomas.
"It's a family business. I try to involve (my kids) as much as possible. It enhances the show and builds their confidence," said the former soldier and current full-time student who performs several magic gigs a month.
Other Kidsville activities included several inflatable rides, a mechanical bull, an arts and crafts room, a food stand, a snow cone factory, face painting and balloon twisters.
Several water features were set up outside, but most of the activities were inside the community center to keep people in air-conditioned comfort.
Kidsville, which has been going on for about 10 years, marks the end of summer and the quickly approaching start of the school year.
"It concludes our summer, and it's our back-to-school bash," said Megian Douglass, recreational superintendent for Killeen Parks and Recreation, who added that the parks and recreation division will sponsor several more events this year, including a Halloween bash, "Holiday under the Stars" and several 5K races.
Contact Iuliana Petre at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7469.