Tennessee Soybean Festival ’08

3 09 2008

I went back to work full-time yesterday still coming off the ‘roids which gave me a killer headache. I’m not a headache person so I felt like my eyes were falling out, but it was fine.

In Hoots, we are holding the 15th Annual Tennessee Soybean Festival. (Incidentally, Laura Carson, who I pointed out on Sunday, didn’t win the Aimee Mann contest but did win the Best Overall Preliminaries at The Bean’s Talent Show and will be competing in the Mid South Fair in Memphis.She’s also going to see her idol tonight in Nashville. So here’s a shout out for her.)

My cunning plan yesterday was to go and hang out with the carnies who were setting up. I am enamored with carnies every since I saw Robbie Robertson be one in the movie “Carny” but I didn’t see anyone who looked anything like him.

Man, they were a surly bunch.

My aim was to talk to someone who might be from New Orleans as the name of the carnival outfit was Crescent City Amusements. In a moment of trying to dig up a story, I thought someone here would have some insight on Hurricane Gustav. They are from New Orleans but none of the actual carnies are. No dice and they pretty much told me to scram. One female carny told me to basically get lost. So I went and got Badger Beth and returned. Not that Badger could do anything, I just wanted a witness to the snide glory of it all.

Well, they told me three times, so I kept going back. The carnies were not fond of me, so harassing them seemed like a good idea as I apparently needed their approval and adoration. Random Question: Every year they put up a “Help Wanted” sign.

The Sign From Last Year

The Sign From Last Year

Should I apply?

Anyway, in my steroidy head, I decided to go up on top of a building where I could take a picture. However, there was no building to be found and I looked for a couple of hours. (Problem is that many of the building are boarded up.) I’m going to haunt the roof of the local library today. It’s my last best shot.

So, we are honoring the glories of the Soybean. It’s pretty much a fun event.

One thing I think the organizers of this event got right was that there are three nights of entertainment in a stage built smack downtown. Thursday night, Corey Smith is performing (which I hear the college students are stoked about although I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with him.) Friday night, Marshall Tucker and Saturday is Lonestar. So I guess there is something for everyone.

I roamed around as the stage was being built, eyed the carnies who wanted no part of me (WHY DON’T THEY LOVE ME?) as, of course, I’m smitten with them and took some more random shots around town. I checked in at Cadillacs, where some of you know, to see if my zombie-inspired darts had come in yet (They haven’t) and was going to head back to my beloved carnies but Squirrel Queen put a stop to it.

She is more reasonable than I am.

So, I’m guessing this is a Hooterville Exclusive.




14 responses

3 09 2008

Back when I was city editor of a small-town paper where the biggest story of EVERY year was the fair (“the second-largest fair in N.C., smaller only than the STATE FAIR, BITCHES!”), the biggest challenge was coming up with stuff to write about, day after day, year after year (OK, so I was only there for two years. Felt like more).

That was back in the early 1990s, and once day I had an idea: A photo essay/contest called “Big Hair at the Fair.” I was going to send out a reporter/photographer team with a ruler and a mission: Find the woman with the absolutely biggest hairdo/tease-job, and put together a photo spread on the experiment.

Unfortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and alas, “Big Hair at the Fair” was nipped in the bud. Looking back however, my friends from that time all regret that we didn’t do it.

Also: We used to get this guy named Freddie “Boom-Boom” Thompson, whose schtick was that he’d dress up like Evel Kneivel, lie down in a white plywood box, and then blow the box up. Once the smoke cleared, he’d stagger to his feet, hold his arm up, receive his applause and then wander off. I thought this was amazing on so many levels, and was shocked to learn that despite coming to the fair year after year, Thompson had never been the subject of one of our stories. So I set up an interview.

The next morning, Boom-Boom Thompson came by the newsroom and I sat down with him and a reporter at the conference table.

The reporter asked “So, Mr. Thompson, what gave you the idea to start blowing yourself up?”

And Thompson replied: ‘WHAT????”

Deaf as a post.

3 09 2008

Trying to get carnies to like you will just make you soy in the end.

3 09 2008

@dan: Am laughing at “Big Hair at the Fair” until I cannot see. I would have bought extra papers out of the rack and delivered them for y’all. I’m thinking I’m going to send your idea (trademarked, of course) to our local mostly online paper when the carnival comes to our local big-hair capital. (AKA the former Speed Trap of the South.)

And ma’am, I do not know WHAT is wrong with those carny types. I would have thought they would have been tickled to death to visit with a classy individual like yourself, who is unfailingly polite, enticingly curious and immediately puts everyone at ease, even before the beer starts flowing. They must have been cruelly tricked by some wannabe somewhere and now do not trust kind women who ask fun questions and encourage them to natter on about themselves.

Or else somebody told ’em you were a narc. That’s happened to me.

3 09 2008

A Narc. Could be.
Big Hair at the Fair … I may go Newscoma on that one instead of mild-mannered Brenda Starr. Heh.

3 09 2008
D. Merritt

Hey, go to C.E. Weldon library and ask them to go upstairs and out on the roof to get some photos…tell them Debby said it would be ok. It’s a nice view.

Oh, and we saw a strange sight yesterday. A TALL, dark “lady” with red streaks in her hair…strolling down Lindell Street in a short, black dress, except it wasn’t a lady!!! We all said “Carnivals in town!”

3 09 2008

I can’t believe they didn’t like you, with your charming eccentricities…. jeez.

Oh and I loved that movie Carny too and saw it a million times. Of course, as you recall, Robbie Robertson (tho good looking) was kind of a jerk in it too…

4 09 2008

We finally asked the Fire Department to get their ladder out and one of the guys crawled to the top and took a great pick, D.
Man, it was better than just going to a roof. I wonder if Roberta would let us sit on the roof to watch Corey Smith tonight. Heh.

6 09 2008
D. Merritt

If you made a nice donation to the library…maybe. I may suggest that to her next year. Highest bidders…silent auction. Private seats! Cool beans!

6 09 2008

D. Merritt, that’s an EXCELLENT idea. Good thinking! I’ll donate some stuff too.

7 09 2008
What Liberal TN Had to Say « The Crone Speaks

[…] Newscoma: Tennessee Soybean Festival ‘08: So, I’m guessing this is a Hooterville […]

7 09 2008

so how many embarrassing pics did you get of vendors setting up?

and yes, i ask for purely personal reasons! LOL

8 09 2008

Heh. It was great to meet you guys. You were the best!!

8 09 2008
Jerry dababa

My Carny Story…I walked out of my barber shop in a nearby Hooterville to enjoy coffee and a smoke and there were two carnies fighting. They rolled around on the sidewalk at my feet, punching and gouging, while I sipped my coffee and enjoyed the free entertainment. I kept telling them the police station was just up the street but they continued until their own smoke damaged lungs forced them to stop for a breather. At fight’s end, I told them both they could really use a haircut. Lo and behold, both combatants stopped by later for a wash and cut. They’d fought over the disputed affections of a carny girl. It was sort of romantic.

As for their surly attitudes toward Newscoma, I DO KNOW THE ANSWER. It is twofold:

1) A lot of carnies are felons and some are violating their parole by being on the road, thus news stories and photos of them are to be avoided.

2) Traveling carnivals do not provide adequate bathing facilities for their carnies and as a result a lot of them are suffering from interminable jock itch. It does affect their attitudes.

8 09 2008

You can’t be a carny; you have both your front teeth!

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