Monday, May 5, 2014

When the Carnival Comes to Town

As the school year winds down,  I'm reminded of the excitement I felt as a child, knowing the days remaining were countable and Summer would soon be here.  But in the month before school let out, there was one more major event that would take place -- the school picnic.   Really, it was a carnival, but we called them "picnics" -- probably a holdover from the old days when that's all there was. I think I went almost every year, but the most memorable years were those I previously wrote about here.

My children's school doesn't host a carnival, but Saturday night we went to the public carnival that appears suddenly once a year on the  local  shopping mall grounds, not unlike Dark's Pandemonium Show.

While this wasn't a school carnival, it did remind of these signs I found at an estate sale earlier this year which announced the St. Louis University High School carnival in 1976. 

I think they're hand painted.  I'm not sure if they were produced by someone at the school or by the amusement company.

I couldn't find any information on the artist, C. E. Hirst.  

Obviously, they're from the Bicentennial year 1976.  Tinsley's Amusements is still in business.

I love the detail of the amusement grounds in the background of this poster.

It's possible this is an student art.  I recall there being contests for posters and flyers.  I always submitted entries, but never won. My submissions were generally repurposed swipes of Peanuts characters. One year I recall I did a drawing of Snoopy poking his finger up at Woodstock's nest with the incredibly creative line, "Wake up, Woodstock!  It's time for the Point/Wohlwend School Picnic!"  I lost to another kid who submitted a drawing of a clown riding on an elephant's back.

I lost to this?

I thought it was a crime at the time, but I realize now even if my drawing was better, they weren't going to use licensed characters.

As I got older, the carnival became a less and less important event in my life and eventually the carnival stopped coming for me.


I noticed traffic coming to this entry from an eBay forum looking for information on the artist C. E. Hirst.  Apparently, he did art for other carnivals around the country as shown in this example.

Image courtesy eBay

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