It?s show time at Coffs
By BIANCA CLARE
YOU'LL find Richard Miller and his old-time memorabilia downwind from sideshow alley and the bright lights of the carnival at the Coffs Har- bour Show. A third generation 'car- nie', Richard has spent 11 months out of every one of his 60 years on the road. "It's in my blood," he said with a smile. "My grandparents start- ed this business in 1930's and it's my duty to carry it on. "My wife, Janet, and our three children and all their children join me on the show circuit. "One day it will all be theirs." Richard's tent displays the largest collection of old-time sideshow memo- rabilia in Australia. "It takes me three days to set it up," he said. "I've got more than 100 sideshow banners dating back to before the war, old photos, crazy mirrors, a mouse show, black and white movies, plaster statues from the 1950's,
original prizes and dolls on sticks." Richard and his grand- children also perform old-time illusions for the crowd. "The kids love the head on the sword, the floating lady and the zig zag illusion," he said. "But they're not too fond of the electric chair." Richard said he had witnessed plenty of changes on the show cir- cuit over the years, espe- cially when it came to fuel prices and public lia- bility. "I've seen a lot of smaller set-ups fold be- cause costs have more than doubled in the last two years," he said. "It's a shame because I think the show must live on." n The gates to the Coffs Harbour Show will open at 1pm today with the carnival and sideshow alley running from 4pm until 10pm. Admission prices for Friday night are as fol- lows: $6 per person, $15 family entry (two adults and up to four children).