County Fair and Amusement Park People Watching!


My God, I love summer! The long, cold months are long gone, and the desire of the people to get out of their houses has reached a fever pitch. As a devout people watcher, there is no better time to ply my trade; it is in the summer that a unique opportunity arises for me, I gain the ability to see the human experience, in full, within the confines of my local theme park or county fair. If you aren’t an obsessive people watcher like myself you may underestimate the power of the county fair, it is the beacon to all. People from far and wide converge to the death trap rides and week-old hotdogs. There is no better place to get my people of people watching than my local amusement park, Camden Park. For the uninitiated, I wanted to compile a list of the species one will encounter on their next trip to their local fairgrounds, so without further ado, let’s fire up the carousel and the shitty cover bands and dive into the people of the county fair.

Species 1- The exasperated parent
Uniform- cargo shorts, sun hats, t-shirt with puke stain, Dad Bod, New Balance Shoes. Kangeroo Pouches.


I thought I would start with my own species. I love watching parents like myself slowly dive deeper into insanity. We begin with the best of intentions, our kids love riding these shitty rides and who are we to deny our children the pure joy of driving a pretend car around a circuit for 45 seconds? I want you all that are not members of my species to understand something; we once felt joy. I was once a really fun person to be around, at least people seemed to enjoy my company, but now I am just an asshole. It’s not my fault, it’s my kids’ fault, sometime around question number 3,485 of the trip, I lose my cool and wear a constant scowl for the rest of the day. We spend our entire trip stopping our kids from running away, from getting on rides before their turn, from exiting rides while they are moving, hell you get the point. The poor moms of this species have it just as bad or worse; they are carrying their infants in those terribly hot kangeroo things that take away all their dignity, if they are breastfeeding they try and find a place to feed their little leeches without Jim Bob lookin’ at her tits, it’s just awful. So the next time you check out your local fair or amusement park, have a stiff drink for us, and remember, this will soon be you.

Species 2- The Hollar Folk
Uniform- Shorts that are either three sizes too small or big, wife beater (male tank top), cheek full of chaw (man or woman, they don’t give a shit), 563 kids in tow.

hey you guys

O yes! One of my very favorite species, the hollar folk. You know the crowd, they heard on the local news that the fair was having a buy one get one ticket after five p.m. on Saturday night and they planned their entire week around the event. They have pulled the collective buying power of three different government checks and plan of blowing it on an orgy or corndogs, scrambler rides, and cotton candy. These people are the easiest to spot, the males of the species are usually wearing a basketball jersey that is a decade out of date or is just wearing a tank top, the women are less clothed usually, sending out their mating call for all to see. Somehow these folk have more kids than species 1, but they aren’t stressed about them, they hand em a buck or two and let em loose on the world. Carefree and having a big ol time, this species is entirely oblivious to the dangers of the scrambler and are usually the ones asked to leave for retrieving their Exxon brand sunglasses while the ride is in motion.

Species 3- The Young Lovers
Uniform- girls are wearing either short shorts, skirts or ripped jeans that make their thighs look like the latticework on an apple pie. Males are wearing an affliction shirt, like 99% of the time. Victoria’s secret perfume is in massive quantities, and Axe Bodyspray sets the tone against the sweating hormones.


If you think the hollar folk are fun to watch, wait until you roll up in line behind the young lovers. Waiting in lines are a fact of carnival life and the people you are stuck next to play a significant role in the enjoyment you can gain from the process. I am ALWAYS pumped when I see the young lovers in line with me because I know I can pass many minutes laughing internally at their drive of human endeavor. The yeasty heat coming off of the young couple is palpable, the young lady has seductively left just one bra strap showing from under her spaghetti strap shirt, and it has left the male of the species absolutely at a loss, his mind is racing! Once she climbs the railing of the line, and the boy moves in, the game is afoot! Try and pry your eyes away from the young hound attempting to move in for the kill, while the girl plays coy, it’s hilarious. Neither one of them have a clue what the hell they are doing, but they are in love, give em a break.

Species 4- the Carnie

Uniform- Camden Park Shirt, shorts, Nascar Hat, Neck Tattoo

I love the Carnies, they make the rides move and somehow don’t kill us. All they want is to get off of work, grab a beer with their fellow carnies and watch Impractical Jokers or facetime with their hot babe working at another county fair. These guys are easy to spot; their prison tattoos are easily visible either on their neck or the unfilled teardrop, the fair won’t hire folks with the teardrop colored in. They send your children spinning into oblivion on rides such as the “gut crusher” and “the scrambler,” and it’s their god damned fault your kid pukes on the way home. It’s their way of paying you back for letting your kid talk shit to them; I guess we deserve it.

There are many other species of folks at the carnival, but this essential guide will get you out and people watching in no time!

Published by TheOddPast by Matthew A. Perry

Writer, teacher, broadcaster, and podcaster from West Virginia. I write about and discuss the wacky and weird side of history on my website and my podcast "The Odd Past Podcast" available everywhere

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