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Under the Neon Carnival Lights

When the sun sets, and the glowing lights flash on, the fair becomes an entirely different world..
..A strange neon sort of world, almost like stepping into an alternate reality.  With distorted colors and sounds, everywhere you turn.
A world where time seems to stand still. Full  of bizarre sights, illuminated by strange colored lights, little stands selling peculiar food, and dizzying rides towering high above.
The cheerful pastel land from the day, has become a little more sinister.
The neon lights flashing rainbow colors, illuminate the dark shadows where I stand, away from the crowd. Capturing the eerie atmosphere of the traveling carnival.
The crowds lessen as the night goes on. I’d like to stay until everyone goes home, and explore the vacant carnival grounds.
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Fair Atmosphere


All year long, I wait for that one day that I get to spend at the fair.



I love everything about it.  The bright colors, the crazy rides, the ridiculous food, the mild creepiness, the interesting people..  

The whole atmosphere of the fair, to me is amazing.

My interest in photography began with the fair. When I tried to capture the atmosphere of it with my 1 megapixel cell phone camera nearly ten years ago.






















It’s the weird and mysterious parts of the fair that intrigue me the most. I always want to be part of it. In an alternate life, maybe I would have joined a traveling carnival..

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Parking Lot Carnival

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One late spring afternoon, a carnival came to town and began to set up in the parking lot of a mildly run down shopping center down the road. We waited until evening, and then ventured down to see what awaited us.

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A few rides, and some food stalls stood clustered together in what was usually an empty area of the parking lot. But on this night, the shopping center was more packed than anyone had ever seen. People were walking towards the carnival from all directions, there was no admission and no one really seemed to be in charge.

It was a bizarre scene.  Across the way stood the Taco Bell, a Radio Shack that was going out of business, a Chinese Buffet we had been to a few times but regretted, our favorite Mexican restaurant and a number of strange stores we had never been too. On the other side stood the interstate.

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Beneath the swirling clouds people lined up for the rides, waited for their food, and didn’t appear to think this parking lot carnival was a strange abnormality.

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 I’ll never forget the time that a carnival inexplicably appeared in a shopping center near my house.

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Ferris Wheel Fireworks

These photos are from back when we went to the fair in October and I never got around to posting them.

After hanging out at the fair all day, eating all kinds of crazy foods, riding a couple rides, and looking at the animals, we like to come back and watch the fireworks at the end of the night.

We usually grab a bag of kettle corn and then pick our seats in the grandstand to wait for the fireworks to start. In this case we also stocked up on some low price doughnuts they were trying to give away before the night was over. A carb coma soon followed!



The finale is my favorite!

Watching the fireworks is an exciting end to a fun day spent at the fair.

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Carousel in the Night

To me, carousels at night have always had a creepy and mysterious feeling about them. Like they are holding some sort of hidden secret beneath their magical, bright, candy colored lights.


As the eerie music begins to play,  the ride spins and spins, creating a dizzying blur of lights. 

The ornately decorated horses slowly rise up and down as their never ending gaze looks onward, with an air of mystery.



Carousels fit in perfectly with that eerie carnival feeling.

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The Fair- Fireworks Show

Every night at the fair they do a spectacular fireworks show. I hadn’t seen it in years so I definitely wanted to make sure and see it this year. We grabbed a bag of yummy kettle corn and sat in the grandstand to watch the show. I took about 200 pictures and it was really hard to narrow them down, but these ended up being my favorites. Enjoy!



Wormhole!!!

For the finale they set off a whole bunch at once!

Which photo was your favorite?

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The Fair

My absolute favorite thing to photograph, and what got me interested in photography in the first place is..

The fair!!

All the bright colors, lights and atmosphere are a feast to my eyes and I just want to capture every bit of it with my camera.  I remember being dazzled by carnival ride photos I saw on flickr years and years ago and I wanted so badly to take the same kind of pictures at my local fair. Sadly all I had was my 1.2 megapixel phone camera and when I uploaded them to flickr they just didn’t compare. I think that was about five or six years ago and I have taken pictures every year since. This year I used my DSLR on manual and I’m pretty excited about how far I’ve come!

Armed with two  cameras and a backpack of lenses, I was ready!

Steven and I rode with my mom and sister and then met up with some friends.

I can’t get enough of this ferris wheel. Every year the cars are painted slightly differently, one year it was just pink and yellow, one year it was all blue (boring!!) I think these colors are my favorite so far.

When my friends and I were younger we would get to the fair as soon as it opened, buy an all you can ride pass and would stay there all day riding rides until the firework show at night, which was about 12 hours! Now we usually just go for a few hours in the afternoon, ride one or two things, EAT, and get out of there before the huge crowds come at night.


Every year we at least go on the ferris wheel. It scares me a little but the view is amazing!

Something strange happened and we ended up with more ride tickets than we expected, so me and my friend Alex rode a few more things, including this ride, which is my favorite!





I went in there once, it was just pictures of weird things. Disappointing! But I don’t know what else I expected for one dollar..


This ferris wheel is scarier than it looks. It goes really fast, sounds like it’s about to fall apart and goes around so many times that you think you’re never going to get off. Alex and I rode it once and nearly peed our pants we were so scared. (But we’re kinda wimps anyway when it comes to rides!)

Although I would ride that creepy ferris wheel a million times before I’d get on this thing. Yikes!


 This is the prettiest ride in my opinion, I even put a picture of it on my etsy shop business card!




I took 661 photos that day.. So stay turned for a couple more posts 😉

Does your town have a local fair every year? And what are your favorite things to do at the fair?