Tri-State Theater

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Monday, January 05, 2015

Magic Makers: The End of an Era

(Magic Makers owners Ken Epperly, left, and Ken Fox, stand among some of the character masks at the store. Photo by Shane Arrington with The Herald-Dispatch.)

   I paid a visit to Magic Makers last week.

   It's the long-running costume shop that's been part of our community for about 35 years. I've been a customer practically since the start - it began in a small shop in Barboursville, and I rented a costume from them that first year - 1979.

   In the years since, I've shot numerous news stories there (from my days with WOWK-TV news and the "Kidsmag" news program) and rented innumerable costumes - most of them through First Stage Theatre Company - heck, I've even worn one of their costumes on stage (in Camelot). 

   To put it simply, the "two Kens" - Ken Fox and Ken Epperly - have built quite an institution in Huntington, renting thousands of costumes and a vast variety of props. It's a service that theatre groups around the country have come to depend on.

   I've been involved with dozens of local shows, and I don't think there's a single show in there that didn't rent costumes or buy props from Magic Makers. Like the other theatre groups locally, I wonder when we're going to do about costumes in the future - there won't be the luxury of running down to the corner to pick up whatever last-minute item we need for a show.

   I certainly don't fault them for retiring - everyone's entitled to a break after so many years of hard work - and they're both exceedingly kind and thoughtful, and always a delight to work with. They've been huge supporters of local theatre! But that doesn't make it any easier to see them go.

   They're in the middle of their "Going Out of Business" sale, but there's still tons of costumes and props and masks and heaven knows what else on sale. If you haven't been by yet, I urge you to pay a visit, pick up some neat items, and tells the "two Kens" how much you appreciate them.

   It's the least we can do for a couple of icons!

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