New act for children hosting 3 shows a day at fair

Published 5:30 pm Friday, August 4, 2023

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A new act is providing entertainment to children this year at the Freeborn County Fair.

Will Hatch, otherwise known as Professor Newton, is bringing three shows to Machinery Hill: The Professor Newton Science Show, the Chester Mouse Funhouse Show and the Funny Farm Show. All together, the name of the three acts is the Merry Heart Show.

This is his first time performing at the Freeborn County Fair after his agent approached the fair.

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During the 2 p.m. show — which he described as a science show, he performs experiments, one that kids could do on their own and involves what he called “diaper science.”

“Take a diaper, they slice it open — a clean one of course — and they scrape out the cotton and the powder inside,” he said. “The powder in a diaper is Sodium Polyacrylate, and so it’s an absorbent.”

According to Hatch, even just a little of the powder can absorb up to 800 times its weight in water.

He’ll also demonstrate Bernoulli’s principle and another with long-chain polymers and molecules to demonstrate the difference between potential and kinetic energy.

And if there’s time, he’ll do math magic.

“That’s a really fun prediction that has to do with an algorithm, an algebraic algorithm based on the number nine,” he said.

If the science show was meant to teach children, Hatch described the Chester Mouse Funhouse Show as “nonsense.”

“It’s a talking mouse named Chester who just never gets it right,” he said, referring to the puppet’s ability to remember song lyrics.

Chester also likes girls and — similar to Oscar the Grouch — lives in a trash can.

Hatch has had Chester as a character since 1969, noting children loved Chester’s attempted flirting.

Describing his Funny Farm Show as mostly magic, Hatch will occasionally incorporate some of his magic and will do a demonstration on molecules using a needle and balloon.

“I have a needle that’s about 16 inches long, and I push it into a balloon and the balloon doesn’t pop,” he said. “I skewer the balloon on the needle and sometimes I even pull a ribbon through the balloon while it’s still inflated,” he said. “It’s a demonstration of molecules, a collection of molecules and how they form a seal around the needle when it’s being pushed in.”

If he has time, Hatch will also do a prediction with the audience as well as a rope trick that involves his pet dog, Frank (which in actuality is a hotdog).

The Merry Heart Show has been Hatch’s project for the last few years, and he said this allowed him to do different types of acts.

“A lot of times people will come, do the same show three times,” he said. “I do a different show three times.”

Hatch, who is based out of Texas, has been doing ventriloquism for over 60 years while watching performers such as Paul Winchell and Jimmy Nelson.

“My first character was actually a dog named Nero, with Chester created in 1969,” he said.

He then branched out into magic.

“Ventriloquism and magic go hand-in-hand,” he said, noting the science show developed out of his ventriloquist show and performing “thousands” of elementary schools.

Professor Newton is at 2 p.m., Chester Mouse at 4 p.m. and the Funny Farm show at 6 p.m. All shows are on Machinery Hill. Hatch has been doing shows since 1994, and he’s also performed in television.