1) the rides!!!
2) the carnies
So the rides are a given, right? But there was something thrilling and off-limits about being so close to the fabled carnies. You knew in your gut that your parents didn't want you to grow up and be a carnival worker. They always looked a little bedraggled and like they were covered in a layer of filth. I'm not sure if they were really like that, of if I just saw them that way because that's what I expected to see. I remember getting a serious case of the giggles if one of them actually spoke to me! I was scared, yet proud that they'd singled me out.
The carnival was extra cool in middle school, because you'd get a bunch of friends together and then get dropped off. No parents! Unnecessary screaming and swearing ensued, just because we could (I have to admit, I didn't swear because it's never been my style, but my friends sure did). I remember whispering plans and passing notes about what time we'd be meeting at the gravitron. The teachers probably hated the carnival. But come on, how cool was it to have plans at night? Answer: very cool.
Some other amazing things about the carnival: fried dough, twinkling bright lights, tickets instead of cash inside the metal fences, prizes, and searching desperately for a pay phone and a dime at the end of the night to call for a ride (no cell phones in 1996!). The carnival was also a sign that summer was near. Sweet, sweet summer.
What's your best memory of the carnival? Did it come to your town?
P.S. I wrote about the carnival because today's Lost In Thoughts is all about nostalgia, so check it out!