Magic was just the trick Aaron Harp needed to give back to others.
The 34-year-old from Hodgenville has been doing magic since he was 6 years old.
“I had my big break when I was 12,” he said.
He convinced Cici’s Pizza in Elizabethtown to have him as entertainment and he was with them until they closed.
“I always joked that the reason they closed was because they were hiring cheap entertainment like me,” he said.
He has been doing magic for 20 years. His wife Samantha has been helping him in salons for 18 years.
“Growing up, magic was an escape from reality,” he said.
Harp likes to get crowd reactions by doing magic. He now has messages on his show to tackle issues such as bullying.
“It’s a way for me to magically spread this message,” he said.
Magic has been his full-time job since 2018, but COVID hit and caused problems a few years later.
“It was a terrible time to start because when you’re an artist, entertainment is the first thing,” he said.
Harp remained faithful and continued to move forward as an artist.
He will stop doing magic full-time when he completes his last two semesters in school to become an elementary school teacher.
“I never want to be burned by magic,” he said. “It’s something I love and I still want it to continue.”
While stuck without magic shows during COVID, Harp appeared in three episodes of “Let’s Make a Deal.” He played for the grand prize and lost but won a hot tub.
He had to appear virtually. Artists struggled during COVID, as it was a year where they could go unnoticed. Being on the show, he said, kept his name there.
Through magic, he was able to give back, especially at Ronald McDonald House. Her daughter Alley, now 11, had to have open heart surgery when she was 5 and the family stayed at Ronald McDonald House while she was hospitalized.
The house has helped his family tremendously, Harp said. At the time of his operation, they didn’t even know what the charity was.
Alley was born with a hole in her heart and doctors were supposed to perform surgery the same day. The family went to Hodgenville Hospital. The surgeon came out two hours into the operation and said she needed open heart surgery. The hole in his heart was about the size of a quarter.
There wasn’t really room at Ronald McDonald House, but they were given one of the rooms for bone marrow patients. It was like a home away from home, he says.
“They made it as special as possible for a family going through what we were going through,” he said.
The family could have been turned away because they were full, but Ronald McDonald House found a way for them to stay, Harp said.
“It took away that extra stress that we really didn’t need,” he said, adding that the family didn’t have to decide where they were going to eat, drive back and forth from Hodgenville or decide who stayed. each night.
He is working on his fifth major fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House which will take place on April 1, 2023 at the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center in Elizabethtown. He brings in Vegas magician Lance Burton for the show.
Through magic, her goal has always been to make a difference in someone’s life.
He also used his love of Halloween to host haunted houses in his home to raise money for local families.
Through his magic, Harp shares his faith. He wants people to see what he went through and how he got through it. He plays drums in the praise band at Parkway Baptist Church in Hodgenville.
Parkway pastor DeWayne Gibson called Harp a great guy and a very good friend.
“He’s a drummer in our worship band and very involved in volunteering at the church,” Gibson said. “He is a strong husband and father of three beautiful children and an important part of the church helping us reach unbelievers for Jesus.”
When Harp sees the audience’s surprised reaction when he does a trick, he says it’s like stepping on stage for the very first time. He often improves his show and feeds off the crowd, keeping the show fresh and new.
The whole family is in on it. His daughter is working on large illusions with him for the April show.
She levitated, disappeared on stage and other illusions, he said. Because they know his father is a magician, Alley said his friends sometimes try to get him to reveal the secrets of his magic.
“She’s done something on every show that benefits Ronald McDonald House,” Harp said.
Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1416 [email protected]