View Full Version : Carnivals of the mid-1960s

03-22-2011, 11:41 PM
Anyone remember the carnivals of the mid-1960s? I have a small scene in my current manuscript that takes place at a carnival during this time period and would like to know what rides, games (particularly shooting games) and foods were popular back then. Google searches have not been too fruitful. Thanks.

03-22-2011, 11:49 PM
I'm not sure carnivals have really changed all that much. The rides and games are mostly the same, although I doubt they still use small caliber rifles anymore for the shooting contests (they probably use BB guns these days; I'm not sure, I haven't been to a carnival recently).

Food at carnivals included cotton candy, candied apples, popcorn, hot dogs, hamburgers (from frozen patties).

03-23-2011, 12:05 AM
Start here:




03-23-2011, 12:26 AM
You can find videos on YouTube of old carnivals.

Here's one from my area: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHy1byOYxsM&feature=related (whoever put it on YT titled it "State Fair" but it's not). It has some views of a typical carnival during about that time.

03-23-2011, 03:12 AM
Thanks alleycat and WriteKnight. All useful stuff. My search skills must be lacking. The video footage is a gem. Greatly appreciate both of your responses.

03-23-2011, 03:23 AM
I remember traveling circuses in the 1960's, so there were games, rides along with the big top acts. I don't remember big cats in the traveling shoes, but there were horse and elephant acts along with clowns. It was very sad when those ended.

03-23-2011, 05:12 AM
Thanks, DeleyanLee, for the additional insights.

03-28-2011, 09:20 PM
Do not forget the smells!

Popcorn and butter; fried dough; hot pretzels; hot dogs with all sorts of toppings; super sweet cotton candy...

And the animals. Manure. Straw. All sorts of warm, musty, sweet, sour and other odors from the chickens, sheep, pigs, horses, etc.

And the extras: oil and grease from the lubricants on the rides; metallic odors as things screech and grind; vomit on the ground outside the faster rides.

Yeah, I've been to a few carnivals and in the 60's I got passes to them because a relative did a lot of the publicity for the ones in my area.

03-28-2011, 11:38 PM
The Scrambler, the Rotor, (a tube that spun rapidly, the floor dropped down and you were pressed against the wall), shooting out a red star on a white piece of paper using a BB gun with a barrel slightly bent. I remember a Carny pointed out a small red dot, as he refused to give me a stuffed animal. Freak shows, the Siamese twins, (Ronnie and Donnie?), Crab man, snake woman and the bearded lady