Magician named Christmas parade grand marshal

This article was published November 12, 2017 at 4:00 a.m.

Maxwell Blade, master illusionist of the Maxwell Blade Theatre of Magic, has accepted the invitation to serve as grand marshal of this year's Oaklawn Rotary Christmas Parade, to be held at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 in downtown Hot Springs. The rain date will be the following day, Dec. 5, at the same time.

"Maxwell Blade was the obvious choice when we were deciding on a grand marshal with this year's parade theme being 'The Magic of Christmas,'" Scott Burton, parade chairman, said in a news release. "It's especially exciting since Maxwell and his family will soon be hosting the grand opening of their new home and show at the historic Malco Theatre, after extensive restoration."

Blade brought his large-scale production magic show and his self-described style of "zany and unique entertainment" to Hot Springs in 1996. He saw his first magic show on television when he was 10 years old. He started his entertainment career as a musician and successfully toured with a rock band throughout the '80s. During the tour, he began performing magic in front of the band, and the crowds loved it, the release said. Blade's solo career in magic began in 1991. He performed in clubs, festivals, and concerts, opening for well-known bands such as Trout Fishing in America and Dan Seals. His first large-scale illusion show debuted in 1994, and it toured for two years before settling in Hot Springs.

For 12 years, Blade performed his large-scale production in The Malco Theatre. In 2008, he decided to downsize to a more intimate setting and opened a smaller venue downtown at 121 Central Ave. In 2016, he decided to rehabilitate the Malco to its original place of pride and make this historic performance venue the permanent home of The Maxwell Blade Theatre of Magic. The Malco is now a member of The League of Historic American Theatres.

"The first time I saw the magic of Mark Wilson on TV when I was 10, it inspired me to learn this ancient art," Blade said in the release. "And now, after 22 years in the community, the honor of serving as grand marshal of the annual Oaklawn Rotary Christmas parade feels like I'm bringing history full circle. It's truly magic!"

The Christmas Parade application deadline is 5 p.m. Friday. The official parade entry form and parade rules are available online at Email for more information.

Local on 11/12/2017
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