All the Fun of the Fair
Every summer our company has an informal corporate gathering.
This year our company really pushed the boat out by renting an entire fairground for the day for the enjoyment of four hundred employees and guests. There were the usual big fairground rides, like a Ferris wheel, Carousels, Dodgem Cars and the Octopus as well as a Bouncy Castle a giant inflatable slide and other children's rides and attractions.
The classic fairground stalls were also there of course: a coconut shy, hoopla stall and ' hook a duck', amongst others. The difference on this day was that employees could go to a stall and learn tricks of the trade. For example, you could see what it was like to be a barker at the dunking booth instead of being the one sitting on the seat inside. You could go over to the ferris wheel operator and learn which switch started and stopped the ride although not of course being allowed to touch the switch without an operator's license. You were given the duty of deciding how long each ride would be.
A variety of colourful street performers were wandered about the fairground, making balloon animals, painting faces, fire juggling and performing magic tricks for everyone.
At the carnival entrance the guests could pick up a map of the grounds, a hat and a t-shirt with our company logo on it. The services of a security company had been used to ensure that only company employees and guests could enter the fair ground.
The street performers also taught us how to make a balloon animals, juggle bean bags, paint a clown face or perform a simple card trick. One of my co-workers had a blast at the pizza stand learning how to spin the dough so it was the right size for the pan. My son spent an hour at the candy floss stall learning how to wrap the spun sugar onto the stick. We all had a fantastic time!
A professional clown taught me to paint a clown face . I didn't think I would be very good at it since I don't draw very well. He explained all it took was a steady hand and patience. He had me practice on a face he drew on a balloon. My daughter volunteered to be my first human subject and the clown face came out pretty good considering that we were both laughing so much.
The rock n' roll tribute band performing on a stage at one end of the fairground were all company employees who enjoyed playing music together as a hobby. They were really pretty good. The four other bands that played throughout the day also had employees of our company in them.
In the evening, a professional country and western band put on a show. An announcer taught everyone a country line dance. It was so much fun, even my kids enjoyed it.
Many people brought their own digital cameras and video cameras to record their memories of the day, but I thought the best way to remember the day was by getting a caricature. The professional artist watched Tom and I at the hoopla stall and drew a very funny sketch of me holding a ring and smiling while Tom jumped up and down hugging the giant stuffed animal he won. I had it framed and hung it in my office.