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Ever since the summer of 1947, the employees of Davis Amusement Company have carted their carnival wares up and down the west coast, bringing cotton candy and exhilaration to new communities.
I recently spent three months traveling through Washington State and Oregon alongside this fourth-generation family-owned business, watching the employees work from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
With the unique carnival lifestyle and work commitment, relationships oftentimes begin between coworkers.
Carnival workers are trained to “bark.” Barking involves a phrase or action that entices passersby to acknowledge the game and worker.
While the carnival is at the specific location, the owners entertain fairground management.
That leaves Sunday, Monday and part of Tuesday to disassemble, transport, plan and then reassemble everything before the next opening.
That’s two and a half days to set up all rides, games and food stands, to recreate the vast playground of color and amusement that people have enjoyed for decades.
She’s doubled over across a bench that looks like something you’d do curls on at a gym.
Her tall, bespectacled boyfriend begins striking her back and rear end with a cat-o-nine-tails dungeon whip.
But during carnival operation hours, they must be in uniform and presentable.