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Cover Stories

Greetings from Coney Island!

I set off for Coney Island on the first Saturday of summer, when King Neptune and Queen Mermaid turn a giant key in the Atlantic to “open the ocean” for the season, to the delight of a half million mortals who come for the annual Mermaid Parade. Islands Magazine

The Game Within

Steve, Mike,and John Dobson have a way with games. As teenagers they operated the slot car racing game at the Canadian National Exhibition--which sucked them into the industry. Since then they've had a knack for creating fun, winnable, and visually enthralling midway games. IAAPA Funworld Magazine

Bet on the Thin Guy

This battle of widths is one of 15 regional qualifiers for the "big dance"---Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest (quite a mouthful). Though Jarvis, Lerman and Lipsitz may sound like a law firm, these guys are the Three Musketeers of the competitive-eating circuit, and I'm here to watch them in action. Holiday Inn Express Navigator Magazine

Canned Wonders

Last November, a team from Butler Rogers Baskett Architects pulled an all-nighter at the New York Design Center. Their mission: to build a 10-foot-long hot dog balanced inside a bun and two nearly 8-foot tall condiment bottles out of canned food. A mind-boggling 6,394 cans, to be precise. It was far from an ordinary workday for these five employees of a firm whose clients include the Chelsea Piers sports complex and the jeweler Cartier.

Games Magazine


The Land of Prizes

Childhood trips to a wholesale house of carnival prizes in Boston inspire an interest in Japan and Japanese writing. Boston Review

Growing Up an Itinerant Vendor

Having a father who earned his living selling popcorn at carnivals made life a lot more interesting than school. Yankee Magazine


Kings and Queens of Swords

Seasoned sword swallowers open up about their death-defying profession. Games Magazine

Daredevil Dynasties

Legendary circus families bring high-thrill entertainment to parks. IAAPA Funworld Magazine


Art Awhirl!

Like Don Quixote de La Mancha, woodcarver Gerry Holzman has dared to dream an impossible dream: the creation of one of the first all-hand-carved carousels since the 1930s, when the aluminum horse galloped onto the scene. Art & Antiques Magazine

Step Right Up!

In 1988, Jim Secreto bought his first sideshow banner: a visually arresting image of The Human Blockhead, a turbaned fakir with spikes hammered up his nostrils and pins piercing his tongue. Nine years and 35 banners later, Secreto's collection of carnival curiosities has entered the rarefied realm of 20th-century folk art. 

Art & Antiques Magazine


Inspired by Imagination

Four students from Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center are paving the way for a new generation of extraordinary interactive and technology-driven experiences. IAAPA Funworld Magazine


A Movable Feat

Within earshot of the frenetic midway, children of traveling carnival workers are getting a serious education. Education Week

Amusement Business

They're Ditching It All For a Life That's Fair

An informal poll of amusement industry manufacturers and suppliers reveals an influx of career-changers who yearn to travel and own their own business, working as much or as little as they like. Amusement Business Magazine


Conjuring Houdini

In Appleton, Wisconsin, Houdini Elementary School is named after the local boy who grew up to become the world's greatest escape artist. The school's colors are the same as those on the famous magician's cape: red and black. If anything disappears, they blame Harry.

Games Magazine

Sherlock's Home

Connecticut's puzzle palace was built in 1919 at a cost of about $1 million, a kingly sum in those days. Its sole architect was the actor-director-playwright William Gillette, who made his fortune originating the stage role of Sherlock Holmes. Stagebill

Historic Preservation

Restoring Roosevelt Island's Ruins

A developer has plans for a former asylum beside Manhattan. Preservation 

Tin-Can Treasures

Are Quonsets, steel hangar-like huts left over from WW II, worth preserving?

Children's Book

The Ten-Woman Bicycle

"An amusing look at 'emancipation,' in which one sees what wonders resourcefulness, tenacity and independence can lead to."---Utrecht Daily News (Holland)


One Thousand and One-Second Stories

"This collection brings the eccentric, influential work of Taruho into English for the first time...
Vita provides an informative biographical and literary introduction."---Publishers Weekly