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Monday, June 23, 2014

An Ode to Carnies

Ah, summer is here....This of course means only one thing:  The Carnival is in town.

Ah, the carnival.  This time of year tiny traveling carnivals start popping up all over small town America.  Its the perfect opportunity to play a few games....

Eat some fried food, and squeeze ketchup from a giant sticky udder......

And of course my daughter always talks me into getting onto something that spins me around and around as a metal bar jams into my guts.....

The other day I stumbled upon the first small carnival of the season.

It wasn't exactly bustling with people, but it had all the essentials.....

They did have a wicked collection of creepy clown mouth garbage cans....

They also had a carousel with some broken down weak backed horses......and they were serious  about it....

But today I wanted to take a look at a special kind of person.  The people responsible for running these games, preparing this food and operating these rides.  These people are Carnies.

These are the nomads that travel up and down the roads of America bringing joy to the hearts of small town America.  We put our trust in these travelers that erect the complicated machines that spin our children around and launch them into the air.  They proudly captain these rides with their mullets flapping in the wind.

I was always drawn to the carnival games when I was kid.....Enticed by their deceptive simplicity....

The carnies taunt and shout at you questioning your manhood and daring you try their games.

After all, who can't hit a balloon with a dart?  Especially when their is an enticing framed pictures of a space alien dressed as a confederate soldier hanging in the balance.....

Of course, as a child I was always obsessed with the Goldfish game......

Note that you can actually exchange 25 fish for 1 Iguana.....

I was obsessed with bringing home a damn Goldfish from the fair.....For some reason it didn't occur to me that you could buy these goldfish at the local pet store for a nickel.  These fish games actually have about the best business model known to man, as you have to pay 1 dollar for a chance to win a 5 cent Goldfish.

Of course, why should you settle for a goldfish or an iguana when you could win a cute and fluffy bunny.

I'm not exactly sure what the carny does with to those poor bunnies with that lacrosse stick.   But anyways, bank a ping pong ball into a floating cup and you get a rabbit.  Now, there is a certain questionable aspect about suddenly and unexpectedly becoming a rabbit owner.  Now, a fishbowl will only set you back a few bucks and you may even have one already, but who has a spare rabbit hutch laying around.  Maybe more thought should go into pet ownership.  Just a thought.

All in all, there is something romantic about the Carny lifestyle, but its not an easy life.  Remember, this summer show your carnies some love.

The Carpetbagger

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  1. I love this post. I need to get to our local fair asap :D

    1. Always important to enjoy the small things in life

  2. i always feel so bad for those rabbits, the fairs here always come through in august and it's so hot!! the fair i like to go to here is the maury county one, and their parade is the BEST. Miss Senior Maury County throws ice cream sandwiches at the crowd from a limo! it's a dream come true.

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    1. I once visited a small carnival set up in the parking lot of a mall. My goal was to do some shooting before kids & their parents would ruin my shots. So I went early in the morning. I thought I would have the run of the place to myself, but there were Carnies setting up the games section. They were giving me the stink eye & asked what the hell I thought I was doing. I guess I kinda won them over & maybe even gained some street cred, by showing them the cameras I was using.... an old bakelite TLR & a Diana.
      Not only was I allowed to continue with my photo fun, I was pretty shocked when some agreed to let me take their pictures. Here are links to a couple shots-
      Thanks for the ode to carnies, Jacob. Well deserved & well observed!