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“All that’s left are Patterns in the Grass” : The Magic of the Carnival


By David A. Price 

Over the years, local civic organizations have raised thousands of dollars to benefit a wide variety of local needs. What’s special about it for me is that it unfolds outside the second floor offices of David A. Price Architects, Inc. on the sports field of a middle school located across the street.

It starts Monday morning when workers begin to mark the fields for the location of rides and the overall layout of the carnival. On Tuesday trucks with rides and crates arrive and begin to park in designated areas. On Wednesday and Thursday through the day and into the evening the carnival begins to unfold in a chorography that has gone on for hundreds of years in similar ways in countless other places. The technology has changed but the magic is the same – transforming what was once familiar into an insubstantial architecture of striped awnings, flamboyance and colored lights. For centuries these creations have given delight to thousands.

At Tustin Tiller Days, the people and families begin to arrive on Friday in the late afternoon and continue in full force through the weekend until it closes late Sunday afternoon. When it’s over, the lights go out, and by daybreak Monday morning all that is left are patterns in the grass.

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