"Lock up your daughters, bring in your laundry, the carnival's coming to town"

I harbor dreamy, unattainable memories of the small town carnivals and county fairs of my growing up. Dark underbelly carnivals of Tom Waits, Ray Bradbury, and Steven King. Carnivals that no longer exist. I witnessed the tail end of the old time sideshows; three legged chickens, tattooed folk eating swords, a half and half perched on a stool, and a pickled punk. Hand painted sideshow banners were alive and well at the Heart of Illinois Fair circa 1975.

Ice Cream Cone


Sadly, the perfect corn dog no longer exists. Their crunchy golden cornbread crusts with juicy bursts of pork are now heartbreaking, half raw battered limp wee wees propped up with sharp sticks. Pink cobwebs of cotton candy magically spun from stainless steel bowls are now squished plastic bags of matted whatnot from the devil's lint trap.

Thomas Wolfe warned us, "You Can't Go Home Again", but time can't crush my flashbacks. Powder sugared Elephant Ears, a Ferris Wheel backlit with lightening filled thunderheads, the earthy scent of summer cow barn, throbbing Zamparelli lights, and gut thumping Creedence Clearwater Revival blasting their siren song from a candy colored Tilt A Whirl.

Sultry     Dirty     Sweet

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