Crabtree Amusements, based in Austin, are the procurers of your typical pricey parking-lot carnival. However, as seen through the eyes of a Lomographer, any carnival is cause for excitement! Grab your camera and follow me on an urban adventure...
Based out of Austin, Texas, Crabtree Amusements is the name in crappy parking-lot carnivals. They have it all: from questionable corn dogs to overpriced (and probably dangerous) thrill rides.
But wait a second. It may sound like I’m dogging the all-American carnival. I have my fair share of criticisms for set-ups like these (pun intended). Yet, in all honesty, I had a great time at the Crabtree Amusements carnival with my boyfriend of over three years. In addition to a wonderful and much-needed date for my boyfriend and me, the carnival inspired me to bring out my cameras for a night of fun!
First off, it is notable that this carnival is set up in the same place here in Austin for many days out of the year. It travels from time to time for county fairs and such, but you can count on this Austin-based company to take advantage of the large city in which it tends to reside. Look for the Crabtree Carnival in south Austin, off of Ben White Blvd. past the Wal-Mart. There is usually plenty of parking.
While the carnival can be pricey, this particular carnival offers wristbands. At $20, you get unlimited rides. That’s a bargain if you plan on riding the bigger (more awesome) rides. My boyfriend isn’t really a fan of these sort of things so we stuck to the Ferris Wheel and rides low to the ground. We didn’t buy wristbands but $20 in tokens (which this carnival uses instead of tickets) got the pair of us on three rides.
I took out my Diana F+ with super-wide lens and my Colorsplash camera to shoot. The Diana gave me a great portrait of myself and a few interesting square-format shots, but overall was harder to carry and I worried about the flash possibly winding up on the ground. The Colorsplash, however, was absolutely perfect! I was able to use it on the ground or in the air, and on bulb mode, it gave me some gorgeous shots! It was a perfect choice for the carnival.
We didn’t eat any of the carnival food, but they had a big selection: corn dogs, pizza, funnel cakes, sloppy joes, even elotes (corn on the cob). While I generally avoid carnival food, every once in a while I’ll indulge in a funnel cake…I really can’t help myself.
There are tons of carnival games to play at this particular carnival and the prizes look amazing. I would have loved to get my hands on a Pikachu, Batman or a colored flamingo. There was even a University of Texas BEVO! However, I was mostly in it for the pictures and not the prizes!
Two things you should really know about this carnival before going: Don’t take pictures of the carnies and don’t waste your precious tokens on the haunted house. One carnie (guy at the Ferris Wheel) accosted me after he got in the crossfire of one of my shots (…it was an accident I swear!). The haunted house was my boyfriend’s choice and there were literally only two things in it…and they weren’t even startling. Also, it smelled like the inside of an old shoe.
Carnival art is something that has always interested me and this carnival has a nice collection of (terrible? amazing?) retro art. Rides, slides, food carts, none are safe from the disco-dancin’ fools or ghastly ghouls. I have to admit I had a pretty great time chuckling at (aka admiring) all the corny art.
All in all, it was an excellent night at the carnival for my boyfriend and me. We had a nice little romantic date night and when I got my Colorsplash photos back I was beyond impressed! I’d recommend this location to any Lomographer, new or seasoned, as a place to go for fun and great photos!
For more information on Crabtree Amusements, visit TexasCarnivals.com!.