In June our little town has a festival, as do most little towns. It’s a time to bring the kiddos out for some fun and adventure; a time to sit on the bandstand and talk to people we haven’t seen in a while, maybe since the last summer’s festival; a time to stuff ourselves with corn dogs, barbecues, cotton candy, funnel cakes, and anything else that strikes our fancy. And a time to take home that summer taffy.
It’s a time for kids to run around until they’re all hot and sweaty… and cranky. And ride awesome, fun, scary rides they don’t get but once or twice a year. It’s a time like no other.
I can still remember how much fun it was when I was young to go to the carnival. It was a lot different then that it is today. We now have the watered down or G rated version. Back a lot of moons ago we had the R rated version, and that was only because we weren’t allowed in the stripper tents.
The men (and women?) were the ones who got to choose if they wanted the X rated version.
The carnival today only uses one of the three squares of “mall” in town. When I was young, two of the squares were jam packed with rides, sideshows, food booths, games, and banked on either end as though competing for business, the stripper tents. One was on the south end of the parking mall and the other was on the north end of the bandstand mall. At least that’s the way I remember it, but there may have been only one. The women, clad in loose robes or other “loose” attire, would come out and walk around on a narrow stage before a crowd of men as the barker enticed the men to spend their money to come inside and see the real deal. As I recall, some lucky man would be picked to go in free, and soon several men were lining up to go in the tent. Of course, anybody passing could stop and watch as the women strutted about the stage… it was at the tent door the people were allowed in or culled to stay out.
There were sideshows of questionable nature as well. A dime would get a child in to see all sorts of weird anomalies, human and animal. The one I was most curious about was the hermaphrodite. Of course, there was an age limit on who was allowed in, and I was way too small, but I questioned everybody that went in on what they saw.
I don’t remember when the town quit allowing the stripper tents and the sideshows to come in as part of the carnival. And I’m not sure if that fact has anything to do with the size of the carnival, at least half of what it once was. I just know for certain it was a magical and wicked week out of the year.