By Catherine Leung
On hot summer days the rides and stands at the Luna Park Carnival sit dormant, their colors muted by the harsh rays of the sun. The entire traveling amusement park perches atop a large dust-ridden gravel lot that is littered with cigarette butts and empty bottles.
But at night the carnival comes to life. The drab expanse is alight with neon color, and bumping techno music can be heard from a quarter-mile down the road. The rides show their true colors in the dark like fluorescent sea creatures in the depths of the ocean. People of all ages scurry along the dusty gravel and make their way to the bumper car station and the high swing. Mothers and fathers accompany little children shrieking in delight on the miniature bumper cars while grown men roar with laughter and taunt each other across the way in adult-sized bumper cars.
Perhaps even more exciting and unusual than the carnival itself are the people who work there. The Luna Park, as these itinerant carnies are called, is put together and run by only four men: three Romanians and one Italian.
Each worker has a distinct manner. The boss manages the carnival from his trailer and is barely seen outside. The oldest man has wiry grey hair and has a tendency to ride around the carnival grounds during the day on an old bicycle. The youngest member of the troupe is in his early twenties, has short black hair, and smiles a lot but speaks very little.
Dennis is the friendliest and most outgoing of the group. He is a short man with light brown, mussed hair. His smile can be categorized as mischievous and his laugh, infectious. Dennis has worked for Luna Park for ten years.
He has a wife and daughter back home in Fano, beyond the mountain and on the coast. He rarely sees his family these early summer days because of the demanding schedule of the carnival. He often misses his wife and daughter back in Fano but cannot see himself leaving the life anytime soon because the money is good and the work is hard but rewarding.
Dennis was once a factory worker but chose to try something different because he was tired of his old job and wanted to be outdoors. He works the carnival spring, summer, and fall, and in winter returns to factory work. Along with his three coworkers, he spends his days setting up the rides and attractions at the carnival, and his nights are filled with screaming laughter and fun being had by people of all ages.
Dennis acknowledges that life on the road is difficult. When asked if he would want his daughter to follow in his footsteps, he replies, "No, never. This is not for her. I want her to get an education and become a lawyer."
Video by Devon Dolan
Photos by Laura Stagliano
Web Design by Vanessa Reeves