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Local History 

Shrine Carnival 1923

Springfield Leader, May 1, 1923, page 8.

"More than 5,000 persons attended the annual spring carnival of the Abou Ben Adhem Shrine which opened here last night for a week's run.  The Shrine this year secured the Con P. Kennedy carnival company which is one of the largest companies on the road at the present time.  The immense throng which crowded the carnival grounds last night was well pleased with the diversified entertainment offered.  Never before in the history of Springfield carnivals have there been so many different lines of amusement offered.  There are a large number of side shows filled with interesting sights and riding devices galore.  One of the novel attractions in the riding line is a butterfly swing.  This is the first time that a fun producer of this description has been displayed here.  The entrance to the carnival grounds is at the corner of Central Street and Clay Avenue and the long line of concessions extends for several blocks north on Clay.  The arrangement is such that visitors may find the various shows with ease.

"The 1923 Follies, featuring Miss Bobby Mellville, is one of the sensations of the show.  Miss Mellville is at her best in a most novel act.  She poses before a large automatic lighting machine which apparently changes her costume many times before her act is completed.  Another feature is the barn yard circus.  This is the first time that carnival fans of Springfield have had the pleasure of seeing a five months old pig dive off of a high stand.  This barn yard circus is different from the usual line of entertainments.

"One of the newest and most sensational acts produced at the Kennedy carnival is 'Tanagara', a European novelty.  In this show the stage is located on top of an ordinary writing desk and it is not more than a foot in depth.  Yet on this small stage human beings sing and dance and they are not over nine inches tall.  Other things to be seen at the show grounds are minstrel, athletic arena, Noah's Ark, the dancing horse and many other attractions."


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