I was driving to the gym on Saturday and noticed that our local high school was setting up a carnival. Oh how I love carnivals. There is something so magical, so fleeting about the summertime fair that seemingly pops up overnight in a once desolate field. Maybe it’s because I love the movie Big. Or the whimsy of a summer romance, like Kevin Arnold had on the Wonder Years.
There are a myriad of pop culture references that have carnivals and summer fairs eliciting this fleeting and yet passionate moment in time. I don’t know what makes this so magical for me, but carnivals will always hold a place in my heart
I remember the summer holiday carnival that would pop up in a dry field near my house. Only lasting four days, and then packed up overnight, the carnival was a signal that summer was coming to a close, and the magic of a kids seasonal break was ending.
The warm heat of summer fades as the sun sets and the cool breeze of the evening flows through the grounds, passing by the Ferris wheel, giant swings, and cotton candy machines. I yearned to be one of those girls I would see, on the arm of a guy who just won a huge stuffed bear that I would've happily lugged around the entire carnival. My friends and I would stroll through the fairgrounds, hoping on the lookout for boys from our school. We’d jump on a ride, screaming till our lungs hurt.
Fairs always remind me of the movie Big, where Tom Hanks’ character follows his crush to the fair. Hoping to get a seat next to her on a ride he is not too tall for, he sadly shuffles over to the arcade area. There he finds a mystical game, where a genie asks you for one wish, and a card slips out stating “Your Wish is Granted.” The next day….the fair is gone. Packed up in the middle of the night and on its way to the next city for other kids to have a magical evening.
I love a good summer carnival and I hope the kids at the high school get to enjoy such a magical time. Where for just a passing moment, anything, and everything, seems possible.