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Under the Big Top: Life behind the carnival

<p>Some people have chosen to swap their hometowns, and professions, for life on the road, as amusement workers at one of the largest traveling carnivals along the East Coast.</p>

News 12 Staff

Sep 6, 2018, 12:57 PM

Updated 2,090 days ago

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For most, the neon, blinking world of the carnival midway is a youthful rite of passage.
But for a curious few, it's much more than that!
Some people have chosen to swap their hometowns, and professions, for life on the road, as amusement workers at one of the largest traveling carnivals along the East Coast.
Dreamland Amusements offered News 12 Long Island an intimate look at life behind the carousel, but they had one rule - the C word was off limits. 
"People come here and they don't respect the business, they don't know what they are talking about," says Bay Shore-native Robby Roberts.
Roberts was eager to set the record straight, "The average carnival worker is just your everyday person, we work hard just like your mom and dad going to work at 9 a.m. That's us!"
He says that living in a home with no zip code 11 months out of the year, comes with perks and sacrifices.
The shifts are long, and the pay isn't great. But Roberts says it's all about making children feel happy.
Carnival life is under threat - right now, there are only about 250 traditional traveling carnivals in the country - about half of what there was a decade ago.
The workers blame stricter regulations, a new shiny era of interactive multimedia, and sons and daughters opting to leave a generations-old lifestyle behind. 
But as long as there are those who refuse to let go, the midway magic will continue. 


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