We are bringing back the famous “Fair Carnival” site. We love it and you will too!
We’ll be adding content regularly. Here is the first page, a listing of some common carnie terms:
A&S Man: stands for “Age and Scale”, refers to the man who guesses your age and weight for a price.
Add ‘Em Up also known as “Add-Up Joint”: Totaling points game. Illegal some places as a game of pure chance.
Advance Man: Employee who handles details such as licenses and sponsors before a carnival arrives in town, and sometimes handles bribes to local officials for leaving the carnival alone.
After-Catch: Products sold to carnival goers inside the fair. Not included as price of entry.
Afterpiece: Comedy show used for cool down after a medicine show.
Agent: Often the worker who draws customers in to play a game of skill or finesse. Often implies a sense of salesmanship or persuasion to play a game that is not in the customer’s favor.
Al-A-Ga-Zam: Pitchman greetings. Used only between each other.
Alibi Store: A game which is easier to win but the player is dis-qualified by “rule violation”. Serves two purposes. First the prize is never given, and second entices the customer to play again and try to win by not “breaking the rules”.
Alligator Man: Historically folks with icthyosis that makes the skin look scaly & lizard like. Can encompass other conditions. Known as a “human oddity”
B.C.: Stands for “be cool”. Used between carnies to warn each other to stop what you are doing and watch out for a authorities or danger.
Back End: The back of the fair. Used for the most popular attractions as the customers have to travel the length of the lot to get to those. Thus having to pass by the higher profit but less popular attractions.
Dollar Day: Historically the day of the fair where all prices are lowered (to say $1). All vendors are required to participate and is generally frowned upon by the showmen.
Draw: Money given to the employees for daily living expenses (or parties). Not the total pay given once a week or less often.
Drop the Awnings: Carnival closing time and activities.
Mentalist: Mindreader showman, often has an assistant who helps him “read minds”.
Merchandise Wheel: Looks like a wheel of fortune, spun and winning a prize on every roll. Prizes are worth less than the price for playing. But patrons love it because they take something unique and fun home. Merchanise games have a tendency to draw lots of players and watchers.
Working Act: Someone who performs with skill, as opposed to an “oddity” that performs by just being who they are.
Yellow: The color yellow has a tradition of bad luck for carnies and agents.