Is it safe to be around carnival workers or circus workers?

Some people hate when the circus or carnival comes to town. They believe that the workers are sketchy, possibly even dangerous.

This distrust can be so strong that in 2001, when I was a concession stand worker, there were towns where we walked to restaurants and stores in small groups to avoid being harassed by the locals. Other towns were very welcoming. But as a 19-year-old female, I still stuck with the safety of traveling with friends.

So is there any truth to the thought that carnies and circus freaks are dangerous?

It is true that the crowds and traveling lifestyle can attract dishonest and dangerous people. For that reason, you should always practice safety at an event. Watch your belongings, stay with people you know or in view of the public, and be careful how much personal information you share.

The traveling entertainment lifestyle can also attract:

  • Harmless people who want a break from the stress and responsibility of normal life. (Warning: Working for a circus or carnival comes with its own new set of responsibilities. So it isn’t a total escape!)
  • People who need a job and that is what they found.
  • People who enjoy bringing a smile to others.
  • People who want an affordable way to explore more places.
  • People who want to meet more people.
  • People who want to do something different.
  • And of course, this lifestyle can also attract people who are just a really good fit for it!

My official suggestion:

Most of the people you meet who work for a carnival or circus are just normal folks. Yes, they are strangers with an easy way to skip town if something goes wrong. Exercise the same caution with them that you would when meeting any other stranger. But don’t be afraid to be friendly if someone catches your attention! You might make a new friend or at least have a fun evening.

There is also such a thing as town help. So if you do make a good friend, you may even find out that they already live in the area and can hang out again soon.

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