CARO – Lions, tigers and bears, oh my? Probably not, but on Friday there will be an unusual assortment of critters in Caro.
Animal Magic, Inc. – a first-time attraction at Caro’s annual Gingerbread Village Festival – will bring exotic animals from all over the world to town.
Animal Magic, Inc. owner and operator Mark Rosenthal has been performing with rare animals for nearly 40 years. He will be in Caro Friday to present two exotic animal shows, one at 6:30 p.m. – meant primarily for youngsters – and another at 8 p.m. geared toward teens and adults.
“In over 38 years, I’ve never done the exact same show twice, every day is different,” Rosenthal said. “We have so many animals, we rescue animals, we work with zoos… I’m an exotic animal educator/entertainer – I try to educate people in an entertaining way.
“Once you leave, you’ve learned something without even knowing it.”
Gingerbread Village Festival is from Wednesday through Saturday, Dec. 8 in downtown Caro. Most of the events, including the gingerbread house competition and Animal Magic show, will be at the Caro American Legion Hall, 110 W. Frank St.
Rosenthal told The Advertiser that he will likely bring a sloth, but other than that, the list of animals will not be revealed until the show starts.
“I don’t know what I’m bringing until that morning,” Rosenthal said. “It depends on their moods, if they’re in heat, if they wake up on the wrong side of the bed. If an animal is in a cranky mood, I don’t bring it.
“The only animal I do tell people I bring is the only traveling sloth in the United States.”
Animal Magic, Inc. is located in metro Detroit, and Rosenthal has been named Nickelodeon’s Michigan Entertainer of the Year multiple times.
True to its name, Animal Magic does include a little magic in the performance, Rosenthal said. But about 90 percent of the show is about the animals.
Gingerbread Village Festival is put on annually by the Caro Chamber of Commerce. All events associated with the festival, including Animal Magic, are free.
The festival kicks off the evening of Dec. 5 with the “Taste of Caro” event at Brentwood Lanes, 178 Park Dr. in Caro, in which local eateries provide food for taste-testing from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Also new this year, Kringle Village will be set up in the parking lot behind Harvest Coffeehouse and Deli, 157 N. State St.
Saturday morning, a favorite of local children, Breakfast with Santa, will be held at the American Legion, with Caro McDonald’s providing free breakfast. After breakfast, folks will get a chance to “Meet the Sled Dogs” – a pack of Siberian huskies and Alaskan malamutes – that will be on hand to mingle with, a likely sniff, the crowd.
John Schneider is editor of The Advertiser and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.