Sometimes, entertainment at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair seems like magic.

Especially when Travis Easterling takes the stage. The local, master illusionist usually makes fun appear and a rabbit disappear — a trick that’s a universal hit with youngsters anywhere he goes.

“I always have someone ask if they can keep the bunny rabbit,” said Easterling, with a nearly one-hour show set Wednesday. “And it seems every kid volunteers to be a helper at a magic show.”

The fair, which kicked off Friday and runs through July 15 at the fairgrounds, County Road 200 South, offers a smorgasbord of music, dance and other offerings. Easterling’s presentation, always popular, brings an element of a polished stage show up close and personal.

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“The show is very unique in that you’d normally see such things on a Vegas-style stage, and the lighting and everything would be just perfect,” Easterling said. “There (at the fair), people can almost reach out and touch the boxes (in the act).”

That includes one container in which a woman disappears and then reappears.

In addition to rabbits in hats, this year’s fair entertainment lineup includes a new twist Wednesday — a Mill Race Center drumming group pounding out a sound, partly on homemade percussion instruments. But viewers hardly should remain content merely as onlookers.

“What we’ll be doing is very interactive,” said Dan Mustard, Mill Race center executive director. “It will not be a performance, per se, but an opportunity for people to participate (in a drum circle).”

The National Institute of Senior Centers honored Mill Race recently with a 2016 Program of Excellence Award in the expressive and creative arts category for its community drum circle.

The Columbus City Band’s annual appearance at the fair generally wins it some new listeners, and even a few new volunteer musicians for the upcoming season some years, according to conductor Steve McGrew. The ensemble, which will be led by Shawn Bentz at this concert Monday, generally performs lighter fare for this event.

That will include a couple of Barry Manilow tunes — 1970s pop hits “Mandy” and “I Write the Songs,” by request of a few city band members in honor of his current tour.

“The fairs usually constitute a different kind of audience for us, although I generally don’t quite think of that when picking the program,” McGrew said.

The Columbus Clogging Company’s hour-long show set Monday is a staple that has stretched for nearly 30 years, according to its longtime leader Naomi Fleetwood Pyle.

“I love it because people will be walking by, then hear our music, and all of a sudden, they’ll stop to listen or see us for just a minute,” Pyle said. “Next thing I know, they’re sitting down and watching the whole show and smiling.”

The volunteer group performs to music including bluegrass, country, pop, rock, you name it.

“And I have been known at the fair to get everybody on their feet for a little bit of audience participation,” she said.

And that participation goes far beyond the fair. Usually, the troupe’s beginning clogging class, set this year to begin July 24, increases a bit because of the fair exposure.

“The more exposure we get, the more people get interested in this,” Pyle said.

Fair entertainment highlights


5 p.m. — Musical talent of 2016 Miss Bartholomew County 4-H Fair Bailey Meyer, David Boll Theatre

7 p.m. — Elvis impersonator, Ron Hobbs, David Boll Theatre

7:30–9 p.m. –Wild Azalia Blue, Farm Bureau Building.


6:30 p.m. — Christian contemporary music from a Columbus area youth group – David Boll Theatre.


7–8 p.m. — Columbus Clogging Company, Farm Bureau Building

7 p.m. — Columbus City Band, David Boll Theatre.


7 p.m. — Chordlighters Barbershop Quartet, David Boll Theatre.


5 p.m.– Feel the beat with the Drum Circle from Miller Race Center, David Boll Theatre.

7 p.m. — Area teen bands: Attic and more, David Boll Theatre.

7–7:45 p.m. — Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums, Farm Bureau Building.

8–9 p.m. — Travis Easterling Magic Show, Farm Bureau Building.


7 p.m. — Small Town Famous, country and folk music performed by Mac Trotter and Ed Kriz, David Boll Theatre.

7 p.m. — Happy Feet Line Dancing, Farm Bureau Building.


7 p.m. — Jonnie Fox Acoustic folk music, David Boll Theatre.

7 p.m. — Mount Liberty Way Band, Farm Bureau Building.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.