The Day The Carnival Comes To Town


Christmas is the best day of the year.  It’s the birthday of baby Jesus.  It’s beautiful and snowy and there is family and food and corny  music that everyone loves.  There are cookies.  I love cookies.

Today is the second best day of the year.

Today is a day that sneaks up on me, even though I plan for it all year long.

Today is the day that the carnival comes to town!


I’m jumping up and down clapping!  (Well, not NOW, because I can’t type while I’m doing that.  But I was.  Earlier.)

I almost drove off the bridge craning my neck to see which rides they brought this year.

I had to turn around RIGHT AWAY and go home and get my little girl and rush back to the park to see EXACTLY what the carnival brought with them.


The Carousel is always one of the first things up. Who, in their right mind, would see the colorful animals and world scenes and hear the Calypso music and not feel the wonder and total joy of childhood in their heart?

Every year, on the second full weekend of July, our little town celebrates little-towndom with a sweet family oriented festival.

Once the festival is in full swing there will be a beer tent (highly controversial in a town with more 6 times more churches than stop lights (not exaggerating)).  There are inflatable jumping castles and guys selling $1 trinkets out of colorful moving bins.  There are three separate stages with music going all weekend long and pony rides and a place that sells home-made vanilla ice cream with Hershey’s syrup on top for $2 a cup.  There are tractor pulls and a beauty pageant and, new this year, a bull riding contest.  There are Civil War re-enactors and local crafters and a guy making BBQ on a giant grill.  There is a 24 hour softball tournament and a car and motorcycle show.  There are fried candy bars and pork chops on a stick.  There are gigantic snowcones.

No matter how healthy of a daily diet my Hippie Journey leads me on, I vow to always throw caution to the wind and eat deep fried anything every year at the festival!

“I can’t stand the festival,” some people say.


Maybe you just don’t understand about the festival.  Let me tell you more.

In the midst of all this glorious, musical, brightly colored, fabulously aromatic, slightly maniacal wonderfulness (Yes.  That is a word, here on this blog, where I am empress) is the crowning centerpiece:

The carnival.

And today is the day the carnival came to town!

They just started unloading.

There is a whole other side of the park that’s still empty.  It will all be packed with ridiculously wonderful delightfulness (also a word): A giant inflatable slide, a rock climbing wall, make-your-own craft tents, and vendors of every sort.

I have always loved the festival.  I can picture the exact place where the throw-a-ping-pong-ball-and-win-a-fish game stood when I was only 7-years-old.  Now I get to share the excitement with my own beautiful little 7-year-old girl!

Apparently, festival fever is genetic.

I loved it so much, for so long, that when we moved back to my little home town I joined the festival committee so that I get to have a little part in planning the most wonderful event of the year.  By the end of the week I will be dirty and sunburned.  My hands will have injuries from fixing broken tent ropes and hammering stage decorations.  I’ll be frustrated by some vendor that didn’t show up or complained about their spot or refused to pay the agreed upon price.  I will be totally and completely DONE with the festival for this year.

But by next year, I’ll be ready to go again.

And just like always, even though I spent an entire year working and planning, making phone calls, mailing letters, measuring spaces and sitting through meetings that are way too late at the end of days that were way too long, when the carnival rolls into town again  I will slam on the brakes and giggle with joy.  I will hurry to the park and wander amongst them (just because I can) in my hideous day-glo yellow “FESTIVAL COMMITTEE” shirt.  I will hold my daughter’s hand and watch with wonder as the Amazing Carnival Guy hangs from one foot and one hand from the top of the ferris wheel, hooking on parts.  I will try to guess what’s inside each of the brightly colored trucks that have yet to be unloaded.  I will be so very very excited.


Today, the carnival came to town.

Miles of Smiles, indeed.


13 responses »

  1. I wish I shared your joy about carnivals. I am one of those people who hates them. I have a phobia of carnival workers after an unfortunate incident as a child. You have inspired a blog post idea. I will recount my horrifying trauma in a future post, thanks:)

    • Hahaha. Thank you! It’s become fun for me in a whole new way since I had kids because I get to experience it through their eyes and being on the committee means I can sometimes have some sway in getting things there that I know they will love.

  2. I love carnivals! How lucky you are to be a carnival planner. I guess I just assumed that carnivals arrived–I didn’t know they had to be arranged.
    I always wanted a guy to present me with a stuffed snake won on a fairway. This year I’m gonna make hubbie keep playing those fairway games ’til he wins me one.

    • The carnival itself “just arrives” but we have to plan for the electricity and water and port-a-potties and parking and security + we have all the extras – the vendors and crafters and stage entertainment and beauty pageant, etc. We start planning each July’s festival in the September of the year before. If there is a festival near you, you should call and volunteer. I don’t know of a single group that doesn’t work shorthanded! And it really is a blast.
      I think your stuffed snake goal is worthy. You should set up some milk bottles and give him a basket full of baseballs to practice with! 🙂

    • That’s so crazy cool!!! Not just a circus, but a Mexican circus!?! You should write a screen-play about it. I wish we could bring one in to our festival but we just don’t have enough space in our little park.

      • That’s exactly how I feel about my time working on the historic boardwalk in Tombstone, AZ. It was a blast, but has sort-of a dreamlike quality to it and, now that I’m older with a husband and kids, I certainly wouldn’t want to go back.

  3. Pingback: Theological Thursday – Anger Management « lazyhippiemama

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