History says the traveling carnival began in America in the late 1800's as a result of better transportation and improved technology.
Summer, for many folks, means going off to see the carnival, and after all, what's more American than eating deep-fried Kool-Aid?
As the weather continues to roast most of the country from sea to shining sea, thousands of people young and old chow down on everything that can possibly be placed in a deep fryer. But what about entertainment?
Racing horses and cars are so yesterday. Today's savvy county fair patron is looking for a different kind of amusement.
It doesn't get much more bizarre than baby monkeys racing on the back of pigs. Let me introduce you to the Banana Monkey Derby in Libertyville, Illinois. The traveling carnival show as advertised puts monkeys in control.
WGN TV reports Phillip Hendricks, the founder of the traveling "Banana Derby" (not to be confused with the slightly more famous Kentucky Derby,) rescued a couple of dogs from a shelter, trained them and took them on the road. After 15 years eating truck stop food and sleeping in bad beds, Hendricks added three monkeys to his dog show. The "Monkey Jockeys" race each other on their doggy counterparts' backs.
The "Banana Derby" puts on up to four shows per day. Each show lasts approximately 20 minutes, and consistsof multiple races and audience participation. All animals meet or exceed USDA, state and local requirements.
Hendricks dreamed of joining the circus as a child, but his parents forced him to get an education. After picking up a law degree, Hendricks worked as a lawyer for close to a decade before he gave it all up to hang out with primates and canines.
Next time you're out eating your 1,136 calorie giant turkey leg, deep-fried frog legs, Oreos and Krispy Kreme chicken sandwiches, take a break. Put that chocolate-covered corn dog and beer-battered bacon down and enjoy the monkey show.