Erik Stephany

Erik Stephany

Buskers to draw downtown crowds

Busker Erik Stephany could hardly wait to bring his magic act to the streets of downtown Chilliwack.

Busker Erik Stephany could hardly wait to bring his magic act to the streets of downtown Chilliwack.

Dressed in a lab coat, over-sized sun glasses and a bike helmet, he was doing his thing yesterday as Dr. Smarticals, a “magically entertaining” character he created.

“Has anyone seen my invisible dog?” he mugged for the wide-eyed crowd of kids gathered at Salish Park.

Several were mesmerized by his schtick, and dropped coins into the black hat at the end of the show.

The 16-year-old performer is one of only three acts that applied this spring to be part of the city’s brand-new 2011 street entertainment program.

The pilot program for buskers was approved by Chilliwack council in April and runs until October.

Street performers pay $40 for a seasonal permit that allows them to perform in four-hour shifts at one of the three locations: Salish Park, Central Community Park and under the Clock Tower at Five Corners.

Stephany is trying to earn enough money through busking this summer to take him to the Canada’s Got Talent auditions in Vancouver on Sept. 19-20.

“It’s been really fun so far,” he explained.

He heads out to Salish Park most mornings for 10 a.m. and then hits Central Community Park in the afternoon.

“It gives me a chance to perfect my routines, and watch people’s reactions,” said Stephany.

Rather than sitting around and waiting to be booked for birthday parties, he figured he could get a busking permit, go out and greet his audiences on the streets. He’s been plucking items out of midair with some sleight of hand ever since.

But getting enough foot traffic is the key to really making it.

“In big cities, it’s the tourists you want to attract since it means a fresh crowd every time. But in Chilliwack we hardly have any tourists, and they’re not found in just one location.”

So how are his audience driven revenues going?

“It’s going pretty well. I’m not making as much as I originally thought I would. But when people see my show, they often throw a handful of change or a bill in.”

It’s been like a good testing ground for the teenage performer.

“I’ve seen how some magicians make their living in places like Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa, by performing in the street,” he said. “There were some amazing performers doing it.

“I decided I wanted to get out there myself and perform for the community of Chilliwack.”

Just Posted

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Syringes prepared with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Long Beach, Calif., Friday, March 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Walk-ins welcome at upcoming G.W. Secondary vaccine clinic

Second consecutive Saturday Fraser Health has scheduled a same-day clinic in a Chilliwack school

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Dozens of demonstrators gathered in March at the Hope Station House, showing support for preserving the 1916 building. (Photo/Christian Ward)
New reports breathe life into efforts to save the Hope Station House

The documents were presented to District of Hope Council at a meeting June 14

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read