Imposing and Overwhelming Spectacle

 

by Lee Kolozsy

 

The final day of the 2007 Gibtown Extravaganza turned out to be a productive and enlightening adventure for me…

My lovely daughter Katerina and I spent the bulk of the day wandering the isles of the trade show examining the many ingenious and clever resources available to the contemporary Showman engaged in the business of creating
fun…

We were like kids in the candy store. We had  compared, dissected and analyzed every aspect of the merchandise and machinery at the exhibition and even gone so far as to track the history of the evolution of the products on display…

We were on a mission to upgrade and improve our Circus and to try to bring all the aspects of our merchandising and secondary marketing up to the standards of the twenty first century amusement industry…

The old homebrew floss machine made from a galvanized washtub gathering dust in the corner of the museum seemed a hopelessly primitive and inferior anachronism when compared to the high powered modern stainless Tornado exhibited by Cretors. However, I doubt that anyone can distinguish any difference in the floss produced by either…

The antique museum piece is priceless, and if assigned a dollar value, is probably more valuable than its high dollar top of the line descendant.  It occurred to me that it was probably troublesome and temperamental to run, and that the Showmen who operated it probably had to constantly tinker with it to make a buck. In its career, it probably earned a
fortune and provided a world of delight to a generation of youngsters now grown old and gray…

The more things change, the more they remain the same…

When the Show closed and the exhibitors started packing, we headed for the Fairgrounds…

Fort Knox, the Whitehouse, Area Fifty One, and the State Prison can't possibly have better security. The place was locked up tight as a drum…

The place was run kind of like a prison…

Surrounded by cops and guards, an impenetrable fortress of chain link and barbed wire prevented anyone without credentials or cash from setting foot on the premises…

No lot lice here…

If you can't pay, you can't play…

My little band of Carnies were scheming like crazy to find a way to the Midway…

I lamented that in my post breakfast confusion I had forgotten to grab my Federation card, which admits any delegate to any Florida fair…

One of our party investigated and reported that the FSF did not honor Gibtown Extravaganza badges…

I phoned my friend on the lot who was investing heavily in the Florida Real Estate Fair…

He nearly got thrown out for trying to get us in…

I devised a scheme that would get us in for sure…

I walked up to the ticket window, waved a yard note in the window, gestured to my party of four, consisting of my nineteen year old daughter, my friend, his date, and requested " Three preschoolers and one senior."…

The indifferent and apparently uncomprehending ticket clerk gestured vaguely to a complicated official sign and informed me that today was not seniors day and that I would have to come back another day. She then returned to her conversation with the seller at the other window…

I persisted…

I told her that I lived up North and could only go tonight and my group would be very disappointed, was there any way to go to the fair tonight…

She responded, " Suh, ah tole you befo, today haint senior day, ah caint do nuffin bout dat."…

I switched to another window…

It worked, My yard note was gone forever, but I now had three dubs and a printed document which might get us in…

We wandered in a daze towards the row of turnstiles and the army of cops and officials gathered around them to apparently discourage people from attending the event…

I stopped directly in front of the numerous turnstiles and asked the top echelon, " Which one goes fastest?"…

He was speechless. Shocked, he pointed to the one in front of me…

I asked, " Does it go upside down?"…

He growled, "Move the line."  I looked around, there was no line…

When we got through that friendly and good humored bunch we were immediately tackled by the gate cops who made us turn out our pockets and purses. I'm really glad that anything incriminating had been lost in a fire earlier…

People had escaped from East Berlin during the cold war with less hassle than we had trying to get to the Midway…

I spotted a gazebo marked "Guest Relations"…

I walked up on a group of fair representatives sprawled out in folding chairs busily ignoring their duties which I imagine should be greeting fairgoers or something…

I cleared my throat and asked "anyone here know where I could find the information

booth?"

I was informed that this was it. I asked if I needed an appointment.  The gentleman asked what I needed. I asked where the menagerie was located. He told me that there wasn't one. I thanked him…

We headed to the Circus. On the way I counted seven menageries including the really huge one at the Circus…

At the Circus the entrance was guarded by closed gates and a grim faced sentry who barred admission…

I asked if we could see the show…

He informed me that the tent was full. At that moment about a dozen people walked out. I asked if the four of us could take their place.  He said no. I asked if he would take a tip. He said trying to bribe him would land me in jail…


I asked what time the next show was. He leered at my daughter and said, "Tomorrow"…

As we walked the midway, I could tell that the Carnies were dog tired from the long day and the play seemed soft for peak on a busy Saturday…

I watched the crowd and from their behavior read that they weren't in a playful mood, and the only evidence of fun on the Midway was a group of young Black girls shaking it up to the music in front of a ride…

They had collected quite a tip…

I noted that there wasn't anyone posted there yet to prevent or collect for dancing, and thought that these were people who were culturally accustomed to oppression and degrading treatment and had become accustomed to surviving it…

I guess that must be what it takes to have a good time at the Florida Real Estate Fair…

Ultimately, it was an imposing and overwhelming spectacle of the biggest and the best that can be found, but it wasn't a bit of fun…

 


If you have something you would like to submit email us at Sideshow World

 

Back to Show Talk With Lee Kolozsy        Back to Main

 

All photos are the property of their respective owners whether titled or marked anonymous.

"Sideshow WorldTM" is the sole property of John Robinson © All rights reserved.

 sideshowworld.com   sideshowworld.org   sideshowworld.net  sideshowworld.biz   sideshowworld.info

is the sole property of John Robinson © All rights reserved.

E-Mail Sideshow World     E-Mail The Webmaster