Saturday, March 28, 2009
He's Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts
This photograph was made at the Cambridge Midsummer Fair in 2005, in England. The gentleman is Albert Harris, who comes from a long line of fair vendors and grew up in the carnival business. He is shown tending his Coconut Shy, started by his mother, Mrs. E. Harris in 1936.
The game goes back years and isn't so different from throwing games popular on American midways at county and state fairs. "Shy" is colloquial for "toss" and the object is to throw balls at coconuts perched on posts. It used to be that when you knocked three coconuts off, you won a coconut. Different prizes have since been substituted and the game remains popular for fair goers.
H.G. Wells made mention of a coconut shy in his novel "The Invisible Man" in 1897. The charming photograph is courtesy of Andrew Dunn.