Sunday, July 25, 2010

Safety at the Carnival

Ring of Fire, assembled by a master mechanic.

The carnival run by family company Johnston Amusements arrives every year like clockwork the week preceding the rodeo. Like modern day gypsies, the carnies move from town to town six months out of the year, setting up and taking down enormous rides with skill. Gordon Johnston proudly asserts that his company has the safest record in California, eight years without an incident. I believe this, for I have watched and documented his workers for the past two years transform misc. parts into magnificent rides rising above the trees. To watch, you have to have a lot of time and patience. Hurry up and wait sums up the experience. Like a giant transformer emerging from a sleep, each piece is unfolded from its cramped position, workers inspect and grease every joint and movable part. Smaller parts are unpacked, inspected and attached to the ride.

I have never seen people who work as hard as the carnies do. One young man told me, I make a decent paycheck, and I have a job in this economy.

Johnston Amusements will return to Mendocino County in the fall at the Mendocino County Fair in Booneville.

Photo taken with a Canon EOS 40D.

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