For one week every spring the local Catholic church, an otherwise unassuming dot on the landscape of my suburb, turned their property into magical kingdom of lights, music, cotton candy and so many rides it was impossible to remember that all other weeks of the year it was just an empty field next to a parking lot. I was obsessed with this carnival… from afar. My parents, citing such horrifically dull things as having their children live long, healthy lives, questionable safety practices and clearly a focused interest in ruining everything, refused to let my sister and me go, even though my best friend, who went to school there and ostensibly had parents also invested in keeping her safe, got to go every night. Worst weeks, ever. This story should end here but as we drove to my parents house last month and I saw the carnival all set up again, I realized two things: 1. I wasn’t remembering it with rose-colored glasses, it’s actually, objectively amazing. 2. This miiiight be the source of my ongoing obsessing with carnivals.
I can’t help it. I haven’t met a balloon race, ali baba, bumper car, ferris wheel, haunted house, carousel, mini-zipper, graviton or hurricane I didn’t like. Give me all the strung lights, popcorn in red and white boxes and musical reels that haven’t changed in 50 years. I delight in the vague creepiness of clowns and it’s basically no surprise that only one days into summer, we’ve already taken the “kids” (sure, okay) to Jenkinson’s and Coney Island.
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