Magic moments provided by Jim Snack

The other performance wasn't strictly a magic show. Over the years, Snack has branched out beyond magic, billing himself as a motivational speaker who delivers customized programs on change, creativity, teamwork and communication. Magic punctuates his performances.

It turns out those kind of engagements pay the bills a little better than standard magic shows do. When he first started out, Snack was a regular on the local library scene, but then started to be booked for corporate meetings both locally and nationally.

Last summer, he got a call from the Cohoes library. They needed a magician and wanted to know if Snack could recommend someone.

He looked at his calendar. He was free on the date in question. The library had often booked him when he was first starting out; he figured he could return the favor.

"I told them, I'll do it," he said. "I went and I had a blast."

So, on a lark, Snack contacted other local libraries to see if anyone else might want to hire a magician. He was floored when 18 booked him for the summer.

Compared to his speaking gigs, it wasn't the most lucrative work. But it paid off in another way. Snack said he "really had a great time" interacting with local kids, watching their faces light up the way the woman's had when she found the egg in the bag.

So when the Clifton Park-Halfmoon gig fell through, even though Snack provided a replacement magician, he offered to do a makeup show whenever the library wanted. It chose the December break.

Snack considers himself a teacher at heart. He went back to school for a master's degree in communication and worked as a teacher's assistant, winning an award as an outstanding TA. When he returned to entertaining, he found he missed teaching. So he started to incorporate some messages into his shows. At the library show, he'll talk about the importance of reading.

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