In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

The "World of Mirth" Carnival in Hallowell

One of the carnivals in Hallowell was “The World of Mirth” carnival, owned by Max Linderman. After Linderman died in 1944, his partner, Frank Bergen, took over. Known as the finest in America, this carnival would come into the city on fifty railroad carts, so it appeared as if the carnival went on forever. Some of the attractions at the carnival included freak shows, kerosene covered men being lit on fire, and other old-fashioned, carnival rides such as a carousel and ferris wheel. The spectacle of people on fire included their diving into a small barrel of water from high up! It was a family carnival but had some mature language and attractions.

While historic Hallowell had the annual carnival as a fundraiser for the fire department, today's economy has changed. The Hallowell Fire Department does other minor fund raisers such as public suppers. Now carnivals usually go to Augusta because it is more central and larger, but they are not brought in by train. With all the fuss about bringing train transportation back, possibly carnivals coming by train may start again.