By Yvonne Ferry

The sound was unmistakable. I heard it from the yard, it came from up the street, from the town park. Happy music was carried on the gentle summer breeze. The carnival had come to town!

We had got our school holidays the day before. It was the beginning of July 1956, and this music heralded ten long weeks of lovely freedom.’ “The carnival is here,” I told my mother excitedly, ‘can I go?” “You can go tomorrow night,’ she replied. “Haven’t you to wash your hair tonight?”

At 8.00pm on the following night my older sister Maura and I set out. We had half a crown each in our pockets. ‘Don’t stay too late’ our mother had warned, ‘ye can go on the swinging boats, but be careful’. We hurried up the street and the music grew louder as we approached the Fairground.

I could see chair-o-planes swinging high in the air. They went around and around gathering speed all the time. They fanned out wide, some of them empty like a loose horse on the racecourse, but most of them were occupied by laughing, shouting young people.

As we went through the turnstile, we met a young man coming out armed with a large pink teddy bear. He had been lucky at the raffle. Some boy or girl would get a lovely surprise tonight, I thought.

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