Conklin carnies come home

Conklin Carnival is back in its original home of Brantford with original equipment. Jim Conklin, current owner and grandson of Conklin Carnivals, decided to bring salvaged artifacts back to the heart of the carnival industry for public display.

Amusement ride pieces, photographs and games from the 1950s, are only a few archives represented at the museum.

“We’re showing the early parts of the carnival which is very much different than what it is today. That’s what makes us different, no one else is doing it,” said Conklin.

The facility is not large enough to display all of the memorabilia. Conklin explained that artifacts will be substituted depending on what the public enjoys.

Along with the fully functioning Merry Go Round, fire truck ride and corn dog wagon located in behind the factory, most of the artifacts on display remain functional.

Employee, and former Conklin Shows employee back in 1956, Stan Airdrie explained that Conklin designed everything differently. Clown faces replace door handles and wash buckets replace sinks.

Although the warehouse strays from the original location of the carnival’s winter quarters on Marlborough St., Conklin remained determined to incorporate as much carnival spirit as possible.

“We don’t consider this to be a museum, we consider this to be more of a fun factory,” said Conklin.


Airdrie explained that the museum acts as a place of nostalgia for some. He explained that people have come in and shared their excitement when seeing certain artifacts that they rode on as a child, or games they played.

“A lot of them will come through once and then they’ll bring their grandkids back,” said Airdrie.

Being in the business for the majority of his life, Airdrie believes that the fun factory is an asset to the city, and is now somewhere for people to go and experience something unique to Brantford.

“[People] drive to Toronto to look at stuff all the time and they don’t think about starting right in Brantford,” said Airdrie.

Conklin explained that the museum was a difficult concept to support at first due to the uncertainty of what it would look like but so far the fun factory has been well supported by the city, receiving donations and a great deal of positive feedback.

“It’s a family thing. Young and old, they can all enjoy it,” said Airdrie.

The museum has a separate room called the Elephant Room for those who are interested in hosting birthday parties, meetings, socials, or just to rent out the space. Prices and details on what is included, size and capacity can be found on the Carnival Museum’s website

The Carnival museum offers a Fun Troop made up of clowns, magicians, face painters, comedians, and more for any type of event hosted at the museum or off site. For more information visit the website mentioned above.

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