Thousands expected at 22nd annual DeaFest

October 30, 2014

Deaf magicians from all over the world and a new movie done entirely in American Sign Language will highlight the 22nd annual DeaFest at Harper College, a celebration of deaf culture and pride.

About 3,000 people are expected to attend the two-day event, which takes place Friday, Oct. 31, and Saturday, Nov. 1, on the College's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine.

DeaFest will begin with the 18th annual Deaf High School Academic Bowl from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 31 in the Building J Theatre. Seven high schools will compete in the competition, which covers art/literature, deaf studies, entertainment, math and technology, science and social studies.

Kicking off the Nov. 1 festivities will be the DeafNation Expo from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Building M gym. The touring trade show for, by and about deaf people features exhibitions, entertainment and seminars. UFC fighter Matt Hamill, a deaf competitor who's been an inspiration to the deaf community, will make an appearance.

After the expo, deaf magicians from all over the world will come together to perform stage illusions, comedy magic, magic for children and more in the final day of a seven-day competition. The World Deaf Magicians Festival, held every two years in a different international city, will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Building J Theatre. The cost is $10-12.

DeaFest will conclude with a screening of "Beyond the Embers: Vol. 1," from 8 to 10 p.m. in J Theatre. Inspired by "Twilight Zone: The Movie" and "The Outer Limits," the ASL Film is an anthology of four short, but bizarre, tales loosely tied within an equally hair-raising central story. Tickets are $11.

"DeaFest provides educational events and entertainment while promoting deaf culture and pride in one's identity as a deaf individual," said Debby Sampson, an instructional specialist in Harper's Access and Disability Services Department. "It educates the Harper community and many others."

To buy tickets for the World Deaf Magicians and the movie screening, call 847.925.6100 or visit If the events are not sold out, tickets will be sold at the door as well.

Started in 1973, the Kimball Hill Family Deaf Institute at Harper College serves between 40 and 60 students from Illinois and beyond. It offers support including interpreting, video and/or classroom captioning, assistive listening devices, tutoring and academic accommodations such as extended exam times and note taking.

The public is welcome at all events. More information is available at

Media contact: Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159