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Monday, Jan. 16, 2017

Memories of carnivals past

Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2007, at 9:40 AM

Remember going to the carnival?

Carnivals still visit Shelbyville each year, these days during the Bedford County Fair and sometimes during school spring break and over July 4 at H.V. Griffin Park. But it's different when you're a child.

In my younger days the old Cumberland Valley Shows set up each year in a vacant lot on Madison Street that's now filled by the old Wal-Mart.

I spent part of my youth riding my bicycle on trails behind that lot, an area today covered by Forest Hills Apartments.

One day I found a buried Bible; there has to be a story on how it ended up in an empty, wooded area on which, as far as I know, no houses had ever been.

But the carnival was in front of that lot. I remember, more than anything else, the crowds of people, smells of popcorn and candy, and the rides. And, of course, the games of chance in which few ever actually won the little cheap trinkets.

Later on the carnival moved out to the U.S. 41-A - Wartrace Pike split. Old newspapers I've seen indicate carnivals had also been held there many years earlier.

They seemed to me like they were so huge and covered such a large area. Today they seem sort of small, at least compared to theme parks most of us have seen. Maybe it's because many things look smaller when seen through adult eyes.

You outgrow carnivals, except if you're fortunate enough to be taking children. But the excitement made being a kid a little more fun.

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.