No bearded ladies or Siamese twins have acts at the fairgrounds, but visitors can see a sideshow dominated by huge, 4-foot rats and giant man-eating snakes.  Lee Kolozsy stands in front of the giant rat sideshow at the Monroe County Fair.



A sideshow exhibitor says he's amazed at how many people will keep their kids protected, but still pay to see his 4-foot rat and 300 pound Burmese python.


Wary visitor to the Monroe County Fair tentatively step closer to the exhibit at the south end of the midway and ask a common question: "What do they eat?"


"Raw meat, barded wire, ground up glass and small children."  Prof. Lee Colossal (Lee Kolozsy) says of Killer and Crusher, "man-eating" Burmese pythons, that measure 16 feet and 19 feet respectively "You'd better watch your kids."


Parents shrink back and put their hands protectively over their young ones, but they have nothing to fear.  The 300 pound reptiles are in a climate-controlled environment under a pane of glass an a metal grate.


"We have fun with them," said Mr. Kolozsy a Florida resident who works in a circus and tours with his animal sideshow. "It's all about fun."


The spectacle, situated at the south end of the midway area, offers fairgoers a glimpse at marvels of the world of nature.


The other featured creature is a giant 4-foot rat.


"You'd be surprised how many people pay money to see a giant rat and a python from the jungles of Cambodia." he said.   "I can't believe they'd want to see something like that, but I'm glad they do."


Mr. Kolozsy considers his animal sideshow a modern spectacle that is reminiscent of the human freak shows of yesteryear.


The original purpose of his show was to catch the attention of the overflow of crowds at circuses and concerts.  He found that people often were more interested in sideshows than the feature acts.


They have a high turnover rate, and often bring in more revenue than the rides and main events.


This is Mr. Kolozsy's third time at the Monroe County Fair.  He passed through in 1992 with the "World's Smallest Horse," and in 1994 with his Magic and Illusion Show.


Along with other members of his circus, he also has toured with Lollapalooza and Ozzfest.  In addition to showing animals, he is a stilt-walker, earning him a name as the "World's Tallest Ringmaster."


Like many other traveling fair workers, Mr. Kolozsy expressed his admiration of the local fair.


"This has to be the best fair in Michigan." he said.  "It's the best value and it's a real old-time country fair.  This is what it used to be all about."


However he is concerned about the future of the fair with the shift toward the development of farmland in to residential areas.


"The agricultural portion relies on the agricultural community, which is shrinking" he said.  "Fairs are becoming fun parks.  This one is a genuine agricultural event.  It's a fun zone with a good dose of culture."


Monroe Evening News, August 5, 1999 by Ingo Kaufman


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