At the Fair – Chennai Style

There’s a place in north-central Chennai where they set up the local “fair.” Called the “Island Grounds”, it’s the site of the 40th Tourism and Trade Fair. To be honest, we skipped most of the trade fair itself, but found the traditional rides-and-games-and-unhealthy-food part of the fair to be quite interesting, both from a cultural and a photographic point of view.

island ground


We arrived just as the sun was setting – ideally about an hour earlier would have been great as the light was fantastic on the way there.  But after the last few sunset shots we concentrated on night photos, which can be lots of fun.

You can have a lot of fun with shutter speed at a fair – like check out this ferris wheel:

Blur II

With all the blur, you can hardly tell the ferris wheel cars seem to be sponsored by Windows?

Sponsored by Windows?

This is the guy, by the way, controlling all of the action. He pulls and releases a handle. For hours and hours. Oh, the life of a carney…

Pulling the Handle Makes it Go

Carrying around our big cameras, we got plenty of attention from other fair-goers who wanted us to snap their picture. Like this Dad below:

Hat Pose

But we also took some photos on the sly.

Taking a Break

As it got darker, the blur shots became more and more fun. Here’s a few of those:

Night Ferris Wheel

Speed Ride

…and there was this ride, where the kids would slowly be lifted up, and then gradually bounced down. Can you guess which is which?

On the Way Up

On the Way Down

Of course, the kid on the left didn’t appear to be impressed going up OR down. Maybe he was trying to play it cool with all the girls.

The fast food offerings were interesting from an outsider perspective. Of course there was cotton candy, which, by the way, melts much more quickly in the damp Chennai weather. But we got a kick out of watching these guys prepare “chola poori” – a deep fried dough thing, placed on top of beans or something (we’re not sure). But it was probably spicy. Watch the video:

And finally, over at the “trade fair” area, this little fella was holding his own in the extremely difficult and technical world of Carnatic music:

A fun evening for the whole family. If you don’t mind super PACKED venues! Probably Sunday evening was not the ideal time to go. But fun all the same! You can see all the pictures from the evening in this Flickr set.

Lights on the River

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