Source: AOL News

What good is a roadside attraction if it can’t sit along the side of the road? That’s the problem Gibsonton, Fla. — better known as Freaktown USA — is facing.

The town that was once home to the Monkey Girl, the Alligator Skinned Man and Lobster Boy is trying to preserve the memory of its most famous giant, Al Tomaini, with a memorial featuring a replica of his colossal boot. He reportedly stood 8 feet 4 inches tall.

Carol Philips, a former circus worker and wolf trainer, is spearheading the effort as chairwoman of the Concerned Citizens of Gibsonton. The group wants the monument to be placed along Highway 41, just south of Tampa and off the Alafia River.

That’s where the giant and his wife, Jeanie the Half Girl (she measured 2 feet 6 inches), built the Giant’s Camp restaurant and fishing cabins in the 1950s. It’s also where a huge Tomaini boot sat atop a concrete slab and served as a memorial for decades, until its recent deterioration.

However, the group faces one giant problem: Hillsborough County has said the monument must be set 50 feet away from the highway because it’s been designated as an accessory structure on commercial property.

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Source:By Keith Gebers – Citizen Staff Writer

Again this year the Elk Grove Western Festival, taking place the weekend of May 1, will feature a top line carnival.

Johnston Amusements is headquartered in Elk Grove, and is the oldest operating carnival company in California.

In addition to this year’s Elk Grove appearance, Johnston Amusements has just been signed to be the featured carnival at this year’s San Joaquin County Fair. The choice was based on the firm’s outstanding safety record.

Ken Johnston, who is also General Chairman of this year’s Western Festival, owns the firm.

“Some really outstanding rides will be featured at this year’s Western Festival Carnival,” said Johnston, “One of these is the historic Hammer, which is legendary.” Variations are also known by such names as Rock-O-Plane and Loop-O-Plane. The creator of the Hammer was Eyerly Aircraft Company in Oregon, which was has been purchased by Johnston Entertainment 10 years ago.

“We provide parts for over 4,000 rides for all over the world,” Johnston said. “The two main features of any carnival are the Ferris Wheel and Merry Go Round. We feature the most attractive traveling Ferris Wheel and Merry Go Rounds in the nation.”

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Source: By Barbara Tucker -The Tonawanda News

The small white sign on the door denoting the Allan Herschell Company gives little indication that the 3,000 square-foot space inside holds the life blood of the world’s amusement parks.

Ed Janulionis, who runs the company located on Erie Avenue in North Tonawanda, not only has the history of the Allan Herschell Co. in original plans, drawings, patterns and tooling that reach back to the early 1900s, but also has a mind full of interesting details and history.

When Chance Rides Manufacturing Co. bought the Herschell Carrousel Co. from the Wendler Family in Buffalo, the company moved to Wichita, Kansas, keeping the Herschell name.

In 1997, Chance decided to auction off what was left of the Herschell Company.

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Source: By Katherine Yagle, News Editor – The Wesleyan Argus

The Coleman Brothers Carnival completed its 94th year this past Sunday, finishing its two weeks in Middletown with sunny, 70-degree weather in stark contrast to the cold rain—and flood warnings—it brought last weekend. Since 1916, the carnival has made its way to Middletown every spring, and with it, as local legend goes, comes “The Coleman Brothers Curse”—clouds, rain, and even, in 2007, snow.

Newspaper articles as far back as the ’50s document the nasty weather the carnival carried with it.

“Local prognosticators use the Coleman Bros. Carnival as their guide to predict rain for late April,” a 1952 article in the Bridgeport Sunday Herald reported. “Seems every season, just as the last tent peg is driven, the rains come.”

A Hartford Courant article in 1964 read, “It has been a local axiom the opening of the Coleman carnival means rain, but Dick Coleman [carnival owner] denies the charge.”

In 1968, the Courant reported that Dick Coleman had correctly predicted rain on the opening day of his carnival for 53 years. In 1970, according to Courant archives, rain not only greeted the opening of the carnival, but it also forced many carnival events to close.

In 1978, according to New London’s The Day, rain created so much mud that owner Robert Coleman and his employees had difficulty setting up the carnival.

“It’s a great challenge to tear down and set up in the rain,” he said. “I was born and raised in this. My dad founded this. My brother and I went into it, and now my two sons are involved.”

As the carnival departs Middletown to continue its season by traveling along the East Coast, the week ahead looks sunny and gorgeous, with highs up to 80 degrees.

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Source: KSWT 13 News

People come to the Yuma County fair to be turned around and upside down. One thrill they did not expect is for the ground to move beneath their feet.

“I was on this thing and then like I didn’t feel nothing you know I was talking to my friend,” says Lupita Soto who was on one of the rides when the quake hit. Other passengers did not feel the shaking on the rides.

“We were riding the Gravitron and then they made us stop and the guy was like get out get out,” says Matthew Lopez.

Even visitors standing on solid ground were frightened by the sudden shacking.

“I thought it was over then it got worse so I went to the door frame and got freaked out,” says Samantha Foster.

There were no injuries and no damages at the fair, unless you count the sand castle which suffered a minor crack.

Visitors continued to hop on the rides even after the shaking subsided. Safety Inspector, Allan Scanlan, says the rides were checked following the frenzy.

“They’re procedure is to shut the ride down and get the people off as quickly and safely as possible and then they’ll reinspect the ride. Depending on the ride, they’ll be given 30 to 40 items for them to check,” says Scanlan. He also says workers did a good job following protocol. Before long the rides were back in operation.

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