Monday, 16 May 2016

The Funfair comes to town.

This week-end the dodgems have been in town as they are here twice each year.   They are always closed during the day so I presume they open in the evening, although as we never go into town in the evening I am not sure.   Young people must use them otherwise it wouldn't be worth them coming.   But it did get me thinking about the Fair when I was young.

The April Fair came to the South Common in Lincoln every year - it was huge.   There were side shows - the tallest man, the fattest lady, the bearded lady and other grotesque things.   There were a few very sad caged animals, which thank goodness is no longer countenanced.   But what always attracted everyone was the rides.   There were dozens of them:  the cockerels and horses, the cakewalk, the flying chairs, the swinging boats, the big dipper; we would go on every one two or three times.  And then, if we had any pence left we would use it up on 'roll a penny' and the coconut shy.   That event and the Circus, which also came once a year, would be two of the highlights.

Now such things have almost disappeared.   I wonder why.   Are the young more interested in Computer Games or hanging about on street corners, or do they go into pubs at a younger age.
I sometimes think it is sad that young people don't enjoy these things except in places like Blackpool.
I'm not including circuses in this of course - they were awful things and are much better now that most of the acts involve very clever people doing very clever gymnastic things and leaving the poor animals out of it.

But it did make me realise just how much our use of leisure time has changed.   So what do the young do these days?

22 comments:

Gerry Snape said...

we do get a really good fair from time to time up at The Bay...holiday times and festivals in Morecambe....but sadly I can't go on them any more....vertigo would strike!!Happy memories Pat.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

What do the young do these days? They write poems, sing songs and dance like nobody's watching.

I remember going to the Minnesota State Fair early one afternoon - just after it had opened. I paid a dollar to see "The Fattest Man in the World". Inside his tent he was just tucking into his light lunch - several burgers in buns. He was wearing a tablecloth-sized bib and I was the only visitor. I tried to talk with him but he was only interested in his lunch. He was like a huge space hopper. It made me feel like a stick insect.

Librarian said...

Acts like The Tallest Man, The Fattest Lady and so on I only know from books and films, not from personal experience.
But we do have several fairs in my home town and in our capital, Stuttgart, every year, and I used to go there for the rides and the sweets - special ones you only could buy at the stalls, never at any other shop during the year - when I was a teenager.
Getting older, I became more aware of the drunken adults (and young people) there, and the pickpockets as well as the overall exaggerated prices for everything, and stopped going when I was about 17-18 years old.
Nowadays I just don't see the point in spending my more or less hard earned money on anything that is on offer there, but I can always tell when it is fair time because of the many young people on the train when I am on my way home, riding into town, dressed up for the fair - the girls in dirndls and the boys in lederhosen.

Terra Hangen said...

I recall the circus and the fair from childhood days. Now where I live in California is our Boardwalk on the beach which charges no money to walk there and has all the rides like ferris wheel, carousel, crazy scary rides too, etc. You just buy tickets for the rides if you want or can walk around for free soaking up the atmosphere.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Very disappointing - I thought you were going to tell us you'd been on the dodgems. We still have a very big fair in Cambridge in Midsummer, maybe I'll go along and see if I can find any young people enjoying themselves in the good ol'-fashioned way.

The Weaver of Grass said...

What interesting replies - thanks for the ones so far. It seems the fair isn't dead at all. I must say Librarian that I don't remember pickpockets but I dare say they have spread everywhere these days. Happy memories though. And John!! I think my reputation would suffer if I were to be seen on the dodgems.

donna baker said...

Well, I was driving down a highway yesterday and passed an 18 wheeler truck. The side door was open which was rare and I looked inside and there sat a white tiger. The truck had a Shriner emblem on it so I guess it was a circus act. Don't see a white tiger everyday. Sad they still use them in circuses.

Rachel said...

We still have travelling funfairs in Norfolk and one was at a nearby town this weekend. We have fair families living in the area. I am not sure how many go, not that many and the fairs limp along. There are many more things for families to do today and flying off to Disneyland and water parks makes the fair on the green in the rain and wind and cold not much fun.

John Gray said...

The young?
They drink bargain booze vodka at the top of town and shout at passing old people

Tom Stephenson said...

John missed out the drug-taking.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

The fair comes every May bank holiday here. The kids drink vodka, then come to the fair before throwing up on the waltzers. Most of the rides look fit to disintengrate

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I do hope that the more well behaved young people are just not obvious to many who commented. We have lots of volunteer activities and civic duties that young people partake of and when the county fair comes to town in August they are there in huge groups - laughing and having the greatest time - as we did when we were younger. The young people also act as guides and helpers at the fair - giving directions and helping anyone who needs help, as well as presenting many displays for our enjoyment - from table setting to bull raising. Now we just watch and enjoy their happiness.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Here in Ontario, we have "Fall Fairs" usually in late August or early September. There is usually an agricultural element to them (showing cattle, horse jumping, showing off your best chicken, alpaca, etc.) There are baking contests, and vegetable and flower contests, and children submit their little craft items to be judged and receive a couple of dollars for a prize. There is sometimes a small midway with some rides and a variety of games to try to your chance at. There are also larger fairs in bigger cities. Toronto has the Canadian National Exhibition (C.N.E.) with a huge midway and games, and usually music acts at night.

What do kids do now? They sit in their rooms and play video games (with each other on line, or with people they don't even know). They go to the movies, they hang out at each other's houses, when they are younger they ride their bikes or scooters, they do organized sports through the school or local community, when they get older they go to house parties and drink underage. I am speaking of rural kids. I am not too sure what "city kids" do. -Jenn

Mac n' Janet said...

Usually county and state fairs now, not so many traveling ones. Young people play games on their phones. We never see kids in our area and there are a number of them.

Cro Magnon said...

As a boy, my big thing was the coconut shy. If I didn't go home with a coconut, it was a disaster.

Frances said...

We have a travelling fair on the common in Harpenden at least twice a year. I think I may have been once, when the kids were little.

Dawn McHugh said...

I havent been to a fair in years and years, I used to love the music and flashing lights at night it was never the same in the daytime

Heather said...

I can only remember going to the fair in daytime but that was good enough for me as a child. My mother was very particular and didn't allow me to eat candyfloss, but on one occasion my cousin and I sneaked off and bought some. I ate mine in a ladylike fashion but he scoffed his down quickly, so I was the one who got caught red handed! I loved the horses on the carousel.
I think today's youngsters are perhaps more sophisticated than we were, and a fairground can't compete with the huge rides on some permanently sited fun parks.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to everyone; there are some really interesting comments here and some valid points too. I have come to the conclusion that perhaps one has to reach one's eighties - and one's second childhood - in order to enjoy such things again (watch this space!)

jinxxxygirl said...

I think it takes much more to impress young people these days...it takes much more to entertain them. Maybe we can blame that on TV or the internet... i'm not sure... Hubs and i were discussing some old TV shows we used to watch as a kid and how vastly different they are from the shows to day... I have a very dim view of the young today so i would be apt to say they are hanging on street corners but perhaps that is unfair.... Hugs! deb

Fairtrader said...

Oh I can tell you that!
Our teenagers spend a lot of time in front of films, books or, mostly, with their mobiles glued to their hands. If not talking or texting, they are watching Youtubers or using various apps. When they meet, they sit in bunches with their faces turned to the palms of their hands. Our girls actually go out into the woods as well, walking and taking pictures. For some years we visited the same small familyrun Circus, but not anymore. In Sweden we have fares every spring, summer and autumn, but few of them have any rides, it's mostly food, candy and gadgets.
In the countryside where we live now, the teenagers love their bikes, motors or none and their homebuilt vehicles , looking like cars but not going faster than 30km. Citylife, I imagine, is different.

They are actually still hanging on streetcorners, or in our case, in the deserted schoolyard or in the harbour.
When we were young, we filled the houses, we were never out unless walking to the cinema and home again. We bunched seven in the threeseatsofa and the other ten on the floor. My first apartment was packed every weekend, everything was easier and our thirteenyearold sometimes say: Mum, why does there have to be mobiles, they ruin everything!!!!

Fairtrader said...

That is supposed to be FAIR. I'm getting tired here!