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Monday, July 11, 2005

Boing Boing: Carny lingo (small hands, smells like cabbage)


ADVANCE MAN - The man who goes ahead of the show and sets up their right to play a certain fair or town. Usually done far in advance nowadays.

AGENT -Any carnival game operator.

ALIBI - A carnival game with very little chance to win, but usually not 'gaffed'. Instead, the agent gives you an explanation of why you lost, usually gives you a better offer.

ANNEX - In the case of a sideshow, another name for the area where the 'blowoff' is located.

BABY NEEDS MILK - When carnies see another carny flirting with the townies, they will often go by and say this just to mess up their buddies 'score'.

BACK END - the sideshows, games and rides. Concessions, no matter where located, are part of the 'front end.'


  • At 9:51 PM, November 17, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just read this hilarious book by Harmon Leon where he goes out and tries to live the American Dream by walking in many different groups shoes.

    In one chapter he went undercover and lived as a carnie in rural Indiana for a month, sleeping in a trailer behind the Tilt-a-Whirl. All the carnies thought he was an undercover cop.

    Check it out on Amazon, Really funny and insightful stuff.


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