Lessons Learned From Carnivals

“We’re still going to have a carnival but no other special entertainment for the fair.”

A county fair promotions lady commented about their plans when contacting her for advertising as in the past.

Memories of carnivals from varied aspects for nearly seven decades flowed freely during the cordial visit.

Before proceeding though important to briefly acknowledge the many variations in typical local and more major fairs this year. Changing almost hourly nothing is like the past due to serious health and politically-initiated concerns.

A few fairs will go on with slight medications while many have canceled and the remaining will be vastly different.

School carnivals were always annually anticipated as all elementary students were expected to sell advance tickets. To encourage sales each class had a contest with an award for the student selling the most 10-cent tickets.

Carrying cash box Mr. Fisher the principal came soon after the bell rang each morning to collect ticket receipts. A big deal for a third grader who literally made himself sick working to sell the most tickets. That blue plastic Planters Peanut cup prize remains on the bedroom shelf unknown whether it was really worth the effort.

All day students, teachers and parents set up the carnival in the gym with special attractions in each classroom. Of course, one dime ticket required for each of the fun opportunities, and it was essential to try everything.

Johnnie Williams an adult bachelor friend sometimes took the little wannabe cowboy to the Tri-County Fair. All the action sounds and hollering of Midway hawkers excited a tyke who’d never been away from home. A merry-go-round ride was enjoyed although the BB-gun shooting booth kept tempting while Johnnie played bingo.

The Mid-America Fair had a bigger carnival with large crowds for more gawking. Once Mom agreed to buy a 50-cent salamander, but the little reptile never survived the trip home. Best time was seeing Roy Rogers, Trigger and their troupe at the grandstand show.

State fair visits enhanced teenager maturity taken in by shell game and water gun galleries to win a kewpie doll. The Ferris wheel was fun to ride but one time on the roller coaster was sufficient for life.

Good times frequently come with life lessons.

Reminded of Psalm 119:33: “God teaches lessons for living one good long life.”