carnival employees

All posts tagged carnival employees

Source: By Rick Whelan – The Beacon Herald

There’s something magical about the annual fall fair — the way it seems to be the official harbinger of … duh! … fall!

What I mean is … before those merry-go-round horses start prancing up and down and before the teenage screams accompany the whirling, twirling Zipper, it’s summer.

But after the fall fair has come and gone, the temperatures seem to drop precipitously and there’s something in the air that whispers “Make every day count, pal … because those snowsqualls and endless sidewalks that need shovelling are just around the corner!”

For about 10 years now my fall fair excursions have centred on our grandchildren. There’s nothing quite like seeing those simple, enduring attractions through the eyes of unspoiled youth.

The bumper cars, the cotton candy and the smell of fried onions wafting through the crisp fall air.

And then there’s the walk home … as the little ones chirp excitedly about their favourite ride and I trail slightly behind, my empty wallet spread open like a flayed flounder as I think, “No! C’mon … really! Where the heck did that hundred dollars go?”

My granddaughter Lauren spotted the towering ferris wheel as we approached the fair this year.

“Look, Grandpa! The ferris wheel!! Look how big it is! Will you take me on the ferris wheel when we get to the fair? Huh? Huh? Will you, Grandpa? Willya?”

My palms suddenly were sweaty. I’ve never been good at heights … especially heights constructed in a few hours by a group of men who have been driving a truck all night and whose powers of concentration may be somewhat diminished.

About half an hour later, as ride tickets grew soggy in an increasingly sweaty palm, we stood at the foot of the wheel. Lauren gazed upward. I chose not to.

Before I knew it, we were climbing aloft. “This isn’t so bad,” I thought to myself. Lauren excitedly waved to Mommy and Grandma way down on the ground. I chose not to.

Then, of course, the inevitable part of wheel-riding came. We stopped at the very top. Our little brightly coloured gondola swayed in the wind.

“Why are we stopped, Grandpa?” Good question.

As the ride concluded (it was actually kind of neat!) I was touched by the tender way the grizzled carnie lifted Lauren out of her seat and gave her a semi-toothed smile.

Carnival workers have always kind of fascinated me. I mean … where do they all go after fall fair season? They have chosen a hard life … one with little opportunity for a family or any real personal life or the occasional lazy Sunday afternoon.

I bet it’s always Monday morning in a carnival workers’ life. If they’re not working the rides, collecting the tickets or pitching in when some unforeseen technical glitch presents itself, they are either breaking down or setting up a ride or driving a ride truck to the next date.

Carnies have been the butt of many jokes and snide comments over the years. I myself took a swipe at them just a few paragraphs ago. But I’d like to apologize.

I’d like to atone by saluting the carnies of the world.

They are the last of the rough-and-ready individuals who work hard and no doubt play hard and whose choice of lifestyle makes our annual fall fair extravaganzas possible!

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NEW LONDON, Mo. — A 53-year-old traveling carnival manager who has a home in New London wins $1.4 million jackpot in the Missouri Lottery.

Thomas Cox matched all six numbers in the Dec. 10 Lotto drawing. The Missouri Lottery said Thursday that Cox bought the winning ticket at Abel’s Quik Stop in New London.

Cox chose to take the winnings in one lump-sum payment of $700,000. After taxes are withheld, he will receive a check for $497,000.

Cox says he’ll pay some bills and save for his three children to go to college.

Abel’s Quik Stop will receive a check for $14,000.

Cox works for carnival operator Wade Shows, but spends a few months each winter at his home in New London.

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Andalusia Star-News
By Justin Schuver (Contact) | Andalusia Star-News

Local fair gives James Gang workers trip home

When workers for the James Gang Amusements Company head out on the road, they’re not going on vacation. They’re going to work.

The James Gang, based in Andalusia, travels across the country with its traveling carnival rides and other fair amusements. Of course, one of their contracts is with the Kiwanis Covington County Fair, which gives the staff a much-needed visit home after seven grueling months on the road.

“We’ve got 72 people that work for us,” said Jesse James, who is co-owner of the company along with his brothers Rodney and Dwayne James. “We have contracts through a variety of fairs; our route goes all the way to Indiana, then back down through Georgia, Alabama of course, Mississippi. We’ll finish up here in Andalusia and do two more weeks on the road, and then we come home for good in November.”

The carnival rides and other attractions are stored in 55 mobile barns that travel with the James Gang. The staff members travel in trailers and James said the long days on the road help the workers form good friendships with each other.

“We have good relationships with the people we do business with, and we also get along well as a group,” James said. “Some of our guys have been with us for as long as 10 to 12 years. We’ve got a good mix of workers, some are young people and others are those who have done this for a long time and really enjoy it.”

The James Gang is responsible for setting up the rides, midway games and most of the food stands at the Kiwanis Covington County Fair. The workers with the company also operate the rides, sell food and other items and work the games.

James said it takes about a full day’s work to set up the midway, and that the James Gang staff members are hard at work long before the gates open.

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By Darragh Doiron
The Port Arthur News

Lori Johnson of Gonzales, LA accepts a hearty bowl filled with red beans, rice, and cornbread from Texas Pecan Festival co-chairman Karen Theis as the Groves Chamber of Commerce sponsored meal for the Wagner’s Carnival workers gets underway Wednesday evening at Lion’s Park.
MIKE TOBIAS / The Port Arthur News

GROVES — Carnival worker Ron Wimberly caught some “foolishness” on the “Judge Judy Show” while he stirred up a Betty Crocker Skillet meal on Wednesday. He’d set up the Tubs of Fun booth in which Texas Pecan Festival players can win this year’s most popular prize, a giant rottweiler toy. He didn’t realize it was the day carnies get fed in Groves.

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