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Life on the Fair circuit 

                                                              By Samantha Craggs staff writer

The Norfolk County Fair means more than rides, games and exhibits for Blair Haines. For him, it means he's
returning home.

Haines, 29, has toured with carnivals for nine years. The Norfolk County Fair is the last stop on the World's
Finest seven-month tour and it means he can come home to Simcoe to his fiancÚ and son.

"It's all about tomorrow," Haines said on Sunday of Thanksgiving, his last day of the year with the company.
"We'll spend a couple of days cleaning up, but I'm home."

Haines' fiancÚ, Shelley Coville, has travelled with the carnival since 1983. He took the last two years off to
raise their son, Blair Jr., who is 17 months old. Shelley said it is hard work and a long time to be on the road
but it provides Blair Jr. with everything he needs.

"We miss Dad but we know he's doing the right thing by us," Coville said. "We do what we have to do."

Haines is in charge of the water racing game TopGlo, where customers sit in seats, aim at a target and
watch the neon green alien race to the top of the booth. He has operated that game since April, when the
tour starts every year. He works six or seven days a week with the carnival until the last day of the Norfolk
County Fair. Shelley and Blair Jr. visit him on the road whenever possible, but that is tough since he travels
across Ontario, from Sudbury to Kingston and back again.

His home away from home is trailer he bought last year. Next year he hopes Shelley and Blair Jr. will tour
with him. Both Haines and Coville say a family atmosphere exists among those on the fair circuit.

Forget about all those myths about 'carnies,' says Haines.

"Some people have it in their head that carnies are dirt bags, but they just don't know," he said. "Especially
with this show here, everything is very clean and very well put together. The people who work here are so
great. But it's hard to change (other people's) minds."

To celebrate their son's first birthday, Coville and Blair Jr. visited Haines on the road. The carnival workers
threw a birthday party. It was the same for the couple's baby shower. Carnival workers gave many
presents. Coville said carnival workers are always looking out for their son, known as "the king of the

"This isn't such a bad place for him to spend the first five years of his life," Coville said. 

As she talks, Blair Jr. is smiling and waving at everyone who walks by. "That's why he's so friendly," she
said. "It's from being out here."

Haines agrees.

"You see a lot of kids who were raised here, and they're so sharp," he said. "It teaches you so much."

Of course, Blair Jr. gets all of the free rides and games he can handle and often helps his father run the
game. Coville said it is not unusual to see her son in the game booth with his father, pushing buttons.

When his family is not on the road with him, Haines said he survives by running up big phone bills. Coville
keeps in touch with him at all times, letting him know what is going on back home in Simcoe. The two plan to
wed next year.

"I send him pictures of the good events," she said. "Like first solid food. He got a picture of that. For
anniversaries and birthdays, we make sure we're there to see him."

Haines and Coville first met while working at the fair. While at a fair in Orillia, she asked him out on a date.
Their next stop on the fair circuit was Kingston, her home town, and she took him out that night after work.

Coville is talkative one. Haines is quiet, but he has a good explanation.

"Everyone asks me why I'm so quiet?" he said. "I say it's because I talk all summer."

While he enjoys running his midway game, Haines said his ultimate goal is to have his own business within
the tour.

"Ideally, I'd like a food stand," he said. "They're a lot of work, but it would be something I could run myself
and they (Shelley and Blair Jr.) could be there."

The family chose Simcoe as their home four years ago while doing the Norfolk County Fair. Shelley said it
seemed like a nice place and everyone was friendly, so they decided to stay.

Haines, a Cambridge native, first began working at the fair when he noticed a Help Wanted sign. Coville
got interested when her friend was dating a concessionaire and they toured with him for two cities. One of
the workers running the games asked her to step in while he took a break. She loved the job.

Next year they'll be back on the fair circuit. Coville will work at a candy floss booth.

But for now, they're glad another season has ended.

"It's nice to be home," Haines said. "Tomorrow, that's it. I'm done for the year."