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Carnival Locations


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In only two days, an ordinary field just outside of town had turned into a truly extraordinary place. It was nearly impossible not to feel a sense of excitement as one stepped through the gates. The carnival entertained those of modest and extravagant circumstances and they all mingled together and enjoyed the attractions.


Stilt walkers moved among the crowd and impromptu performances by acrobats, contortionists, monkeys with their trainers, clowns, and others entertained the carnival’s guests. Musicians played and sang in different parts of the field, while others wandered the grounds offering to sing special songs for visitors. Everywhere one looked, there was something interesting to do or see. One could easily imagine that one was in a completely new world.



The Main Event


At the edge of the field near the front was a brightly colored tent that could seat at least a hundred people. Large high flaps let in the sun during the day. There was a sign in front of it advertising an hour and a half of breathtaking and daring stunts that would amaze and delight. Times and prices were listed for the shows.


There were two stages set up on either side of the tent that offered continuous entertainment … singers, dancers, jugglers, acrobats, magicians, knife-throwers, and many other acts that followed each other one by one ... intended to make one eager to see the show.


Behind the tent was a tall fence blocking off that area. Voices could be heard as well as growls and roars of various wild beasts.



The Arena


This area was next to the largest tent. It was roped off and featured daring stunts on horseback as well as wild animal tamers. Benches surrounded the arena and a sign advertised various shows every two hours.



The Open-Air Theatre


On the opposite side of the field, there was a large stage with rows of benches in front of it. A sign proclaimed the the times that a play was being performed. Standing room behind the benches was free, but many onlookers found themselves short of cash later. It also had a fenced off area behind it.



The Puppet Show


Toward the entrance was a stage that performed puppet shows. There were no seats but an area had been enclosed in front of it for people to sit on the ground and watch. Appealing mostly to children, there were performances all day, ending around dark. Like the theatre, sitting room cost a small fee but you could stand and watch for free. Just watch out for those pesky pickpockets.




The Fortune Teller


This blue tent painted with sparkling stars sat in a prominent place, as the fortune teller’s services was always in demand. Cats roamed in front of it and some of them interacted with the people who stood in line waiting for their turn. There was a table outside where a young woman collected the fee and made certain that only one person or couple went in at a time. Every now and then, she would call out “Buy our cats and be free of rats!”



The Curiosity Tunnel and Freak Show


This long colorful tent was a passageway leading toward a larger area. There were flaps to let in the sun and air in this tent too, but they were high enough that nobody could get a peek at what was inside. A sign advertised wonders such as unicorn horns, dragon teeth, and a mermaid.





There was an area where various games were set up. The prize was a free token to see a show of your choice. A small fee was charged for each game. Most people who won a token spent about five times as much as the token was worth but left with a sense of satisfaction that they wouldn’t have if they just paid the price of a show.





Stalls sold merchandise of all kinds. Some were objects one cold find in London and others were from far off lands. One of the most popular items was a stick with a wire circle at the end and a small bowl of soapy water from which one could blow bubbles.  An artist not only sold his own works but also painted portraits, advertising different prices for different sizes.



Food and Drink Stalls


There were stalls selling everything from familiar snacks to exotic delicacies, as well as both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Sadly, cotton candy had not been invented yet.



The Black Tent


In a far corner behind the stalls sat a plain black tent which served as the office of the carnival’s owner. It was easily overlooked.



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