Carnival Time In Hopkins County
by: Bobby McDonald
What would a county fair be without rides, cotton candy, and the lively action at the carnival? Most of us have cherished childhood memories of our trips aboard a fast mechanical ride with friends or siblings, as we whirled through the air, feeling a little nauseous from the hot dogs we'd eaten, and staggering to the next one on a dare! It's the joy and the magic of the carnival, a fantasy land of fun and excitement!
Well, more of those memories began being made with the opening of this year's Fall Festival Carnival, on Wednesday night, and will continue through Saturday night! It's an annual tradition that rolls into Hopkins County two or three times a year and leaves behind a pleasant and warm glow in the hearts of children.
Growing up in 4-H and showing cattle at all of the major fairs across the state, I had access to plenty of opportunities to ride carnival rides, but two such experiences are still maintained at the forefront of my mind......some 40 years or more later. The first incident was "on the midway" at the Four-States Fair in Texarkana with two fellow 4-H members from Hopkins County, Ronald Dicken and Kenny Crowson. We got on the "loop-o-plane" and Kenny had just consumed two or three hot dogs, and you know the outcome.....Ronald and I were forced to dodge them, if we didn't want to share them with him throughout the ride!
And, the second incident involved being on the double-ferris wheel, at the State Fair of Texas, when I was a freshman in high school. Me and friend were at the very top of the two-story ride and the man operating the machine failed to stop it soon enough and had to "shake" the entire contraption with his sudden stop. When he did, it flipped the small little contraption we were seated in, 360 degrees....."at the top of the world!" We saw Dallas from a truly different angle! And we were only held in by a little bar, "snapped" on with a snap like we used on our show cow's halters. Scared is putting it mildly and I made a promise to the Good Lord, if he'd get me down from there, he'd never have to worry about protecting me in a place like that again.....and to this day, I've stuck to my guns! I'm still mortified of heights from the incident, so long ago!
The Bumper Cars, the twisting tubs, and the hobby-horses are more my style, of carnival rides! And, yes, I still love the smell of cotton candy, the occasional foot-long corny dog, slathered in plenty of mustard, and a carmel apple, every once in a while. There's just something about the taste of carnival food, riding a ride, and trying to win a huge stuffed animal, that brings out the kid in everyone!
Make certain that you attend the Fall Festival Carnival and make some memories!