Darryl Wolski talks to carnies


With the fair almost packed up and leaving the city again for a year, I thought to myself let’s see what a week in the life of carnie worker is like.

Last week while driving home from Austin Texas and seeing the hundreds of semi-trucks I was thinking 'wow would that be a terrible job.'  I can’t drive for more than 8 hours without sucking back a 5 hour energy bottle. Then it dawned on me 'hey the fair is in town I wonder what that life would be like?'

So I corner three carnie workers today on the Keystone grounds, as they tore down and awaited rides, and asked them to give me their story.  Very little interest was shown until I offered the group free Big Macs and then they were good.  Some of this information is somewhat confidential, so I will not use their photo’s or real names.

DW – can you guys actually make a living doing this?
Carnie 1 – well we make about 700 bucks a week but we also work 16 hours a day.
DW – so about 5 or 6 bucks an hour.
Carnie 1 – really???
DW – yeah if you are working 7 days a week that is about 110 hours.
Carnie 2 – but sometimes we get free food

DW – I assume having a relationship of any form is impossible
Carnie 3 – we all hit on girls but really what normal girl is interested in a guy working at a fair.

DW – In the rock n roll business of roadies you hear of stories of huge drugs and parties and drinking would it be safe to say this industry is the same
Carnie 1 – sure whatever it takes to get through a day sometimes and if it is hot outside most of us are too tired to party after
Carnie 2 – we honestly might have a few beers that is about it

DW – so you are all young guys why not try the oil patch where you could have a bit more stable life
Carnie 2 – where???? North Dakota is dried up
Carnie 3 – we have all looked this seemed to be the best option other than say WalMart

DW – so can you move up the ladder so to speak?
Carnie 1 – no chance

DW – I have read that people are rude and treat you guys like clowns (no pun intended) or is this an urban legend
Carnie 2 – people can be dicks for sure

DW – and how are Brandon people overall?
Carnie 2 – usual it is the same types of people coming each night you don’t see too many white collar dudes

DW – any advice for any younger people reading this story
Carnie 1 – go to school
Carnie 2 – it is a tough business you sweat lots…don’t sleep or eat
Carnie 3 – I agree this is tough and takes years off your life

DW – well guys enjoy the burgers and I hope the next stop on the carnie tour is ok for you guys