Carnival Delights

The high-wire highs and lowest lows inside the amusement industry.

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The Fearless Mother-Daughter Duo Who Tamed Lions to Save the Circus

When the Great War sent the men of Europe to the front lines and left a legendary family business on the brink of bankruptcy, two brave women stepped into the ring.

How Conquering the Disney Cosplay Universe Helped Me Finally Love My Body

As a kid, I thought I was too fat to dress up as my favorite cartoon characters. As an adult, I discovered a subculture that became one of the greatest joys of my life.

Barnum & Bailey’s Forgotten High-Flying Suffragists

In 1912, female acrobats, equestrians and weightlifters took on a new high-wire act: fighting for their right to vote.

The Man Who Saves Carousel Horses from the Glue Factory

In an age of 100-mph roller coasters and high-tech amusement parks, one master craftsman carries the torch – ’round and ’round – for a dying breed of carousel carvers.


The Resurrection of Ringmaster Chakravarthy

Dodging Tomatoes with the Renaissance Faire’s Juiciest Comic

How a hot-lipped man named Cracker earns an honest living, and raises a son, one carefully crafted wisecrack and flying fruit to the face at a time.


Battle of the Baddest Women on Earth

Jesus, Take the Wheel of My Giant Farm Machine

Through prosperity and drought, boom years and bust, the farmers of Snow Hill, Maryland, place faith in one of the harvest seasons’ unlikeliest kickoff traditions.

The Crushing Weight of a Giant Chipmunk Costume

At age six, I couldn’t imagine anything more magical than working with Mickey and Friends. As an adult, it took three mice, a mermaid, and a purple-robed Merlin to help me escape my dream-crushing day job at Walt Disney World.