curious oddities

Carters Royal Fair: A Steam-Powered Spectacle
April 17, 2008, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Steampunk | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Here I make a little confession, I have a thing for carnivals.

A big thing.

I love it all, the corn dogs and candy floss, the musk of axle grease and sweat, the mystery, the spectacle and of course the glorious attractions.

The Carter Steam Fair is one of the few remaining old-style, steam-powered, traveling carnivals. With every attention to detail, the Fair is pulled by a spectacular fleet of vintage transport trucks, including a really cool 1932 Ford AA with a back-end that has been converted into candy floss stand.

Steam organ: photo by Tarnie cc

Established in 1976 by John Carter, who had a passion for collecting and restoring old and interesting items, the Steam Fair is still going strong, traveling through London and into the surrounding areas 7 months out of the year.

All of the rides, some date back to the late 1800’s and early 1920’s, are powered by good old fashioned steam- the generators are awesome. As well as the beautiful rides and “games of chance,” Carter’s traveling arcade has the largest collection of vintage penny slot machines open to the public.

The Steam Yachts and Chair-O-Planes: photos by Steve Bowbrick cc

Should you find yourself in Berkshire during the warmer months, be sure to plan a visit to Carters Famous Royal Berkshire Steam Fair. If you can’t make it, you can live vicariously through others and see a huge set of great photos here.

For further enjoyment, if you like the darker side of carnival life and haven’t seen the two-season-long HBO series Carnivale– I highly recommend it.