Thursday, August 3, 2017

Life in the Midway…

Every time I visit a festival that features a midway, I am transported back to my childhood! These memories are quite vivid as midways played a large part in my past. My first recollections of a Midway are of the long gone “Sunnyside” which was located in Toronto along the Lakeshore west of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) grounds. I can remember, as a little boy, being taken there by my parents. I was allowed to ride the kid’s rides by myself, but I think the biggest thrill was climbing into the bumper car s with my mother. I’m not sure who had more fun. She loved crashing into other drivers and encouraged me to help her! Later on, when I was allowed to drive by myself, my mother would still climb into a bumper car herself. It was always a challenge to see who could out bump who! I think my mom likely won more times then she lost! Another wonderful Midway memory, was at the CNE. As a youth, my friends and I were allowed to visit the CNE on our own. The excitement of trying to win a big stuffed animal as the barkers yelled out “You ring one, you win one!”: the challenge of riding as many thrill rides as possible to the loud pulsating music and the determination to outsmart the age and weight guessers even though they could win any time they wanted to, all added to the mystic and charm of the Midway. And then there was the “FLYER”! It had been a feature of the CNE forever and it attracted kids, big and small! We all tried to see who could ride the longest with our hands held over our heads. We always fought to get the front car! It was the scariest position of all, and the most fun! When I see the excitement in the faces of today’s kids enjoying a Midway, I see myself. I hear my mother say “Have a great time, be careful and I’ll meet you at the Bingo Hall when you are through”.

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