Curry’s Amusements and All the Fun of the Fair!
Following in the Footsteps of Mr. Bradbury
“When I was twelve, I met Mr. Electrico at the carnival…and he told me that I had lived before, in 1918. And when I left my visit with Mr. Electrico, I went and saw the merry-go-round and the horses were going around and around to the music of Beautiful Ohio. So that merry-go-round has been taking me into the future since I was twelve years old and it continues to go round…”
If my long-suffering mother of 78 was sitting in the Hand in Hand office with me this morning, she would be giving me The Look; yes, The Look that says ‘You never really did grow up, did you?’
And of course she would be right; and long may it stay that way. The real world can grind you down on occasions, so if we can keep a pail hanging near that well of youthful enthusiasm in case we need to take a sup from it occasionally, then I don’t think that’s something to be smirked at.
Today there’s no fear of me being in anything but the most up-beat of moods because I’m listening to some pleasant chat from the congenial John Wray of Curry’s Amusements. And what John is talking about is something very dear to my heart: FUNFAIRS! Or ‘the shows’ as we called them in my native Scotland.
John and the members of his travelling fairground pitched up in Galway a fortnight past to begin with some evening openings. Now they are opening daily. That is great news for Galway– and then even better news for Hand in Hand is that they have an ‘official opening day’ for the charity on the 8th of July; so if you are like me then take a note of that. And continuing from then until September they will be promoting us whilst also allowing the charity to have collection boxes at various points.
“We’ve been on the go since 1946, when my late uncle founded Curry’s Amusements”, John tells me. We’re based just outside Derry but for ten months of the year we travel the length and breadth of the country.
“Over the years we’ve been going to the same places and so of course you form a relationship with people. In fact, you build up a network of folk who you know and who even work here. Some join and move on with us and others stay to be met up with another time. Sometimes a young fella who had asked if he could help us moving something will still be with us years later.”
From Stalls to Thrill Rides!
This has me smiling my head off; and for the same reason that children, teenagers and adults are still reading Ray Bradbury’s great novel Something Wicked this Way Comes decades later. Don’t be put off by that title. A few pages of that and you’re twelve years old again, remembering when things were magical and you wanted to be like Will and Jim, running off to follow the funfair!
“We’re a family business”, continues John, “and we offer entertainment to the family as a whole. Not specifically to children, not specifically to teenagers or to adults; it’s the whole family aspect of the business that we’re concerned with.
“I had a phone call recently from a young couple who were keen to visit us but wondered if it was suitable for them to bring along a four-year-old. Well, of course we have seven or eight rides that are perfect for that age. And then again you have a teenage couple who are going to be egging each other on to take some of the thrill rides.
“Well, we have a new one here at the moment, a beast of a thing. It’s actually very beautiful to look at; but I’ll only be walking past it, I can tell you that.”
Now that I can sympathise with: a few years ago I was at Funderland in the the RDS, Dublin and saw one that for the first time I was terrified of! The pleasures of getting older; but when I tell John this he surprises me by saying that Curry’s have been supplying equipment to Funderland in the RDS for the last 34 years…so it’s likely that I’ve been acquainted with Curry’s Amusements without ever knowing it.
Obviously I’m curious as to why he and his team have chosen Hand in Hand for such a marvelous fundraising opportunity.
“Well, whilst I’m stressing the family aspect, our main customer stream would be young adults and children; so when we got the tender to share some of the ground at Leisureland we were keen to find a charity to reflect that. We just liked the look of it. It seemed that bit different. And then when I was talking to Jennifer yesterday I realized that there were a lot of things involved in caring for children with cancer that I wouldn’t have thought of. I mean, look at your emphasis on keeping the house clean. There’s just one thing that would have been lost on me: the importance at a time like that of total hygiene.
“So overall we felt that the charity was one that we felt we would like to try to help raise public awareness of. We try to do something, often anonymously, in any community that is good enough to have us; but this time we felt that it should be a bit more public.”
[Interestingly, I had noticed that John had mentioned in passing some children from Chernobyl that would be visiting the funfair.]
As a matter of fact, no more than John hadn’t thought of some of the things that we do, I hadn’t thought of some of the ways in which they would contribute to the well-being of wherever they make their temporary homes. After all, such essentials as groceries and fuel have to be bought somewhere.
I haven’t been to the shows in a couple of years but after talking to John…well, his enthusiasm for what he does is contagious. And if the rest of his team are like that I’ll bet it’s going to be a memorable evening for anyone who visits.
They have various different events planned between now and September so keep checking with the Hand in Hand Events Section for upcoming information. And on that note I feel the need to re-read some Ray Bradbury.
See you at the funfair!
“There’s the carousel turning and I’m on it right now, talking to you and going ahead into the future, around and around to the music of Beautiful Ohio…”