At quarter past 11 on a Thursday night, the Rockin’ Horse Farm in Kennebunkport, Maine is entrenched in fog. It is a thick, soupy mist that has enveloped the entire site. The Big Top tent rises out of the fog and the four lights at the top of the masts are the only source of light powerful enough to illuminate the trailers and trucks around it. As people move about to or from trailers or the pie car, the fog swallows them.
We walk from the parking and the van back towards the tent’s ghostly light that pierces the muggy darkness. The dirt lot where the GMC vans sit in rows is at the edge of a field that slopes down to our trailer and tent city. Walking through the wet grass, I can still taste mango sorbet from downtown Kennebunkport. I can hear the music from the tent crew’s boom box. Grass collects wet and slimy in my sandals and looking up through the humid air, I see that rain-clouds have begun to obscure the stars.
It is a privilege to have these kinds of summer evenings.
In an economy where a “relaxed” workplace means being able to wear blue jeans in your cubicle every Friday, these kinds of idyllic moments make me appreciate the job even more. Lots of fun happens on the lot after the show has ended and the audience has gone home. The Smirkus staff have had movie nights, with Buster Keaton films projected on the back of the refrigerator trailer while we munch on leftover popcorn. We’ve gone swimming in the ocean and watched sunsets sitting in the sand. There is music, delicious food, and good company at all times.
After hours, the site possesses a quiet kind of energy – one unperceivable to the audience. The site recharges and in the morning when the troupers return, the site comes to life again. The crowds will pack into the parking lot bumper to bumper, fill the bleachers and when the moment is right, something beautiful happens. You can call it a romantic kind of a notion, but there is something to be said about the kind of people that are drawn to Smirkus, and the environment they create wherever they go.
I’ll call it magical.
Evan Johnson, Communications Intern