Most people would find the idea of turning a red and silver Coke can into Fanta Orange daunting, if not impossible.
Not, John Abrams. He had magic on his side.
"What if we use a little holiday magic to change the molecular structure of that Coke?" Abrams asked the crowd.
Abrams, the Christmas Entertainer, put on a holiday-themed magic show on Wednesday for the Friends of the Library-sponsored Winter Family Night at the Laguna Beach Public Library. The night featured a family-friendly magic show, crafts, snacks and even a visit from a gingerbread man.
"We like to be thought of as a community center," said branch manager Jon Gilliom. "We just want everyone to appreciate the library, know that they are welcome here and be comfortable here."
The library was packed with kids sitting criss-cross apple sauce on the floor or in their parents' laps as Abrams wowed them with illusions — not least of which was handing one boy an orange cup of Fanta that came out of a Coke can.
Abrams made an oversized goblet of red "Christmas punch" disappear, pulled a dollar bill from the middle of a cored apple and turned two parents into ventriloquist dolls using goofy masks.
"I think it's awesome. I like the way he pulled a card out, but it was really just paper," said Ophelia Chapman, 8, referring to a card trick.
Throughout the show, Abrams pulled up kids and parents to help him, which for Emily Baker — who was called up on stage — was the mark of a good magician. Emily, 12, said using audience participation made the show more exciting because it made the outcome unpredictable.
"I think it was really good," she said. "I think it takes a very talented person to perfect these tricks."
Emily was part of what Abrams called the "most dangerous" part of the show, which was her 5-year-old sister Katherine's favorite part, especially when a large, green, stuffed snake jumped out at Emily.
"I was frightened," Katherine said.
After the show, families gathered in the children's section where books about magic books were waiting along with crackers, cheese, fruits, vegetables and even gingerbread men to munch on. The craft room quickly filled up as children colored Christmas-themed bags or made felt owls and foam gingerbread people.
Children also made angels, using handprints as wings, that were going to be sent to Newtown, Conn.
Parent Dora Trautenberg hadn't told her daughter Lauren, 7, about the recent school shooting, but they were still going to make one.
"I think just knowing someone cares is always a good thing," Trautenberg said. "It's a small thing, but hopefully a little bit of a comfort."