FIRST PERSONWhere have all the freak shows gone?

Henry Franco
September 28, 2001
Filed under Fun at the Fair

OK, so maybe I didn’t go to the right places. Or maybe I didn’t stay long enough. Or maybe I’m just the stupidest person on the planet. But after visiting the Kern County Fair recently for more than five hours, I failed to see anything that even remotely looked like a freak show. Now, what’s wrong with this picture?

Once the highlight of the fair, at least when my parents were young, the freak shows gave the public something to look forward to when they visited the fair other than the green face they got from riding the Zipper too many times or standing in line 20 minutes waiting to get a stale corn dog. They were almost a tradition. Now, as years have gone by, some idiot has decided to change things. They have decided to pass off some faux freak shows as the real thing.

Sure, there were some off-beat things at the fair this year. We had a 1,000-pound man and people who dressed like their animals. But are these things really necessary to force on the public when we used to have the genuine article? If whoever put these shows together actually thought they were a service to fair patrons, then maybe they should be the stars of next year’s “freak shows.” I mean, who actually wants to see this stuff? Unless Pee-wee Herman is making an appearance in town, nobody.

When the fair resumes its tradition of the bearded lady balancing a ball on her nose or its rendition of carny mud wrestling, let me know. Will I be watching until then? Let’s just say I would rather be at Karaoke Korner for five hours listening to a Britney Spears wannabe crooning out “Oops, I Did It Again” for the zillionth time. At least then, there would be someone interesting to watch.

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