Perhaps one of the most favorite memories of childhood is going to the carnival. Then again, its pretty magical for us big kids as well.
We live in a world where we have many celebrations in the warm months of spring, summer and fall. The Festival At Our Lady Of Angels which ran through the weekend of September 7th thru 9th brought together neighbors and friends and those from afar to celebrate with games, food and music - the huge parking lot overlooking the Rocky River Reservation came to life in a flourish in the West Park section of Cleveland, Ohio. It’s an event that everyone in the area looks forward to at summer’s end.
In the far back area overlooking the river were the rides where parents took their kids on the Ferris Wheel or riding the horses on the Merry Go Round along with other assortment of transport. Toddlers squealed with delight at their first sight of all the activities and watching older children riding ’round and round as well up and down and asking their parents if they could ride too!
On the midway there were the games of skill and luck as well selling of raffle tickets for a chance to win prizes. Usually raffle tickets are sold by area merchants a few weeks before the event to sweeten the pot. However, most bought their tickets at the weekend event. Games of skill required plopping frogs into small children’s wading pools of water as in the game of Leap Frog, others included using water guns to fill vials a few feet away - the first to fill the water tube won the prize as well rolling dice to win at other booths. Or for the fun of it, you could play a miniature game of putt-putt golf.
In a tent filled with tables and chairs, people listened to soft rock music thanks to the efforts of ‘Mike Grassi’s Beyond Tomorrow’ Band while enjoying the food they bought along the midway or the buffet below the band’s elevated stage. Young or old, people got up to dance and a little girl barely into her third year swayed to the music that was played! In all, they had a lot of fun.
In the Our Lady Of The Angels ’Linus’ Hall, there was a temporary casino set up for the adults to enjoy games of chance, and beyond that, a place to quaff a few beers on a patio. The crowd was well behaved without incident - teens talked and joked on the front church lawn beneath the shaded trees. Some showed their athletic prowess to show off to the girls. Indeed it was a place of innocence, smiles and laughter.
The fair ended at sunset and almost immediately the lights went off, the rides stopped and the tents started coming down. School was to commence on Monday, thus its back to the everyday world. The trucks were loaded into the night to transport to the next church fair in another neighborhood before the winter snows would fall and the carnival people could head south for a well-earned rest - summer is now officially over in the burb of West Park, Ohio!