Old School Traveling Carnival

The other weekend I went to a Traveling carnival in Austin Texas.  I am pretty sure this is the same carnival that has come through town a couple of times a year every year since 1979.  After all, one of the rides is still called Disco Fever.  That’s a bit dated, don’tcha think?  This is not sponsored by the city, county or anybody.  They just set up in the same empty lot on the side of Ben White Blvd by IH 35 year after year.  Old School, classic.

I love how innocent children are.  Their enjoyment is enthusiastic and total.  While I enjoyed the carnival for it’s ironic value, for the memories from my childhood and the opportunity to people watch, I would never get on one of the rickety rides, eat any of the unhealthy food or trust a carny for second.  Seeing these kids run around with abandon brought joy to my heart.

Then there was this guy.  I am pretty sure he was a hit man for the Mexican mafia.  He just had this look, like you did not want to be alone in a dark alley with him.  In my long experience closely observing people:  people who look mean, are mean.  What your mom told you about your face sticking that way is true.  On the other hand, there he is holding his two kids hands, dutifully taking them to each ride.  We all have the capacity for a greater good.

Before we leave the world of children entirely, and enter to the adult world, I want to talk about this picture.  This young girl says everything about that age and about the value and importance of the carnival.  Her look of quiet but total confidence says it all.  She leads.  The other girls follow and the boys chase.  She is just discovering her new power and she enjoys it.  The carnival is a place of play and power, a place of growth and learning peopled by many in this transitional age group.

Characters, carnies, and Cowboys.  This is a Texas Carnival after all.  The characters abound and that is the draw for me.  This is what I am here to observe and capture.  American culture is diverse and wide ranging.  Here are some slices of what it offers.

And of course Hipsters!  Enjoying the irony of it all.

I think people make the most interesting subjects.  They are so diverse, so complicated, so ever changing.  There is depth and diversity that offers opportunity for limitless exploration.

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