An education at the fair


Everyone has memories of precious moments made at their county fair.

And, others may have looked at it as an educational lesson that comes only with hands-on experience.

We refer to something no longer seen at the county fairs across this country — the ol’ time “girlie” shows.

Teen-aged boys and men, who had still not grown up and accepted responsibility, supported those shows that were more often than not absolutely raunchy.

Most of the girls involved and leading that kind of life were as ugly as a burned biscuit. Occasionally, one came along that looked acceptable, but still not the kind to take home to mama.

It must have been a tough life for those gals, and we often wondered if their work was worth the pay.

It was probably the only time they could get some admirable attention and be the center of attraction.

Still, the best of those shows was not the good part. The good part was all the preliminaries leading up to the actual behind-the-tent show.

All of that came when the “carnie” was making his best effort to drum up a crowd to go inside the tent. Many in the passing crowd always bit the bait.

The more the silver-tongued carnie kept it going, the larger the crowd became and the tickets began selling.

The most interesting of it all was when a man and his wife just happened to be strolling by, or perhaps were at the wrong place at the right time.

It was fuel to the carnie and he stepped it up a notch as all the girls were outside on the stage for the big tease.

A wife always seemed to want to walk a little faster than her husband.

It made little difference, because a lot of those husbands’ heads did nearly a 180 degree turn looking back at the stage and those gyrating gals with the big smile.

Many times the wives would slap their husbands on the back of the head to bring him back to the real world, or even stop with her hands on her hips in total disgust.

Bet those guys ate a lot of bologna or banana sandwiches and slept on the couch, too.

They probably didn’t even get a chance to win their wife a teddy bear.

We teens were getting a great education on both fronts and didn’t even have to have anyone tell us to pay attention.

We were wide awake.

Most of the time we never had enough money to buy a ticket to the show, and it took a brave soul to try and slip under the back of the tent for a free show.

Those folks had security provided by big, ugly and burley dudes carrying night sticks.

Many of us got an A in that class of how to nurse knots on your head, but some used diversionary tactics to get through and enjoy a free show.

It made great conversation at school the next day.

William Holloman is a staff writer for the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at wnh9326@gmail.com.


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