Life just off the midway

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Purple monkeys spin against the sky. Teddy bears the size of humans are at every turn. Neon rules and the aliens have officially landed.

Showman, Randee Green, takes a break from setting up the midway in the exhibition parking lot. Times-Herald photo by Mickey Djuric 

Late last night while everyone was sleeping, the fair crept into town and parked itself in the exhibition parking lot. 

Immediately workers started to set up in preparation for cotton candy to be eaten, thrills to be had, and toys to be won. 

Randee Green, a showman from Moose Jaw, takes a break from setting up the games as half built roller coasters, helicopters and bags of plastic hammers tower over her. Eight years ago, when she was 18, she joined the fair.

"It was something different to do, and I've liked it ever since," she said. 

For years she's worked with people from all over the world, and while midways get a positive feedback from the public, she agrees that the people who work them usually don't. 

"We get a lot of negativity from the media," said Green. "They say we rip people off and that we're not fair. A lot of people say that we're dirty or people try to say we're big drug addicts or alcoholics. But it's not like that out here. We are just regular people who are trying to make a living."

Many of the people who work with the fair are young adults who are looking for adventure and a way to travel. 

"We're just regular people and we come from all different places," said Green. 

For Krystal Mann from Regina, it was a way to spend the summer with her family.

"My mom works here. Back in the day she used to be in the shows. Her husband works on the ferris wheel now and she wanted to come out here and join him and I decided to come with them," said Mann who works in the lemonade bubble.

"We're just regular people who come from all different places," said Green. "It's fun to work here and it's neat for some young people. A lot of us get stereotyped in other jobs for the way we dress, like myself, who gets stereotyped because I'm a girl and dress like a guy. A lot of the time I won't get a job because of that."

Green describes working with the fair as a loving and accepting environment, just like being a member of a really huge family.

"I don't know where the name carnie came from to be honest," said Green. "But we'd rather be called showmen. People judge us already in so many different ways. Other than the rides, people and food, who do people come to the fair for? The showmen."

The Hometown Fair starts Friday, with the midway opening at 3 p.m., and runs until Sunday. 

Mickey Djuric can be reached at 306-691-1263 or @Mickey_MJTimes 

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