Manassas Journal Messenger | For some, the fair is their home

SLIDESHOW Hog Wild at the fair

SPECIAL REPORT Hog Wild at the PWC Fair

Rebecca Moyers was in a bad relationship and out of money. She needed to figure out a way to get from Fort Myers, Fla., to Pensacola. The fair was in town. It would be an easy way to quickly earn some cash, she said.

“I’ve been here ever since,” said Moyers, 40, operating the Appleworm, a children’s ride at the Prince William County Fair on Monday. Moyers’ stint with the fair, almost six months, isn’t long compared to some workers’. Her husband, whom she married in July after they met at the fair, is in his 20th year.

Though the fair is in town for a little over a week, for many, it’s their permanent home.

Moyers’ husband, James, has seen 32 states from Maine to Florida, over to Texas, up to North Dakota, he said.

He joined the fair after high school because he couldn’t find another job in his hometown of Upper Sandusky, Ohio. Working children’s rides, he enjoys the excitement he sees on their faces. The smiles, he said, make the job worthwhile.

Though they work together, James Moyers, 39, said he sees his wife very little on the midway.

“We only pass each other every now and then,” he said.

The Moyers share a room in a bunkhouse, an 18-wheeler trailer divided into four rooms and a shower. Home is currently located behind “the big wheel,” the larger of the two Ferris wheels on the midway.

“We have all the comforts of home,” Rebecca Moyers said, listing satellite TV, a microwave and a computer.

Traveling from January until November and living in tight quarters with fair staff can lead to quarrels and gossip, said Ryan Muller, 27.

He’s traveled with the fair for two years with his brother Jason, 32. Together they manage eight employees to run four games. They co-own the business with their father, who owns similar attractions on the Wildwood, N.J., boardwalk.

“It would make a good reality show,” Ryan Muller said.

He grew up working for his father during summers on the Ocean City, Md., boardwalk, where the family previously operated games. He knows the convenience of living in one place.

“It’s got its ups and its downs,” he said. “You get to travel, you get to see the country and meet a lot of cool people. The down part is not being able to be stationary.”

The Mullers operate two “Fool The Guesser” booths where employees guess a fairgoer’s age, weight and birth month. There’s no trick, Muller said.

Nothing is rigged to keep potential winners from knocking blocks off the table at their other booth or get a circular wand to the bottom of a spiraling rod.

“Basically, we’re just trying to make as much money as we can,” he said.

That’s all anyone is trying to do, but people don’t spend money like they used to, said Richard Daley, 37, from New Orleans.

When temperatures are near 100 degrees outside, and his grill reaches 135 degrees at Robbeloth Concessions, the attendance is low, he said.

“People have to be here for everyone to make money,” he said.

This is Daley’s first time at the Prince William fair, but he worked games with another tour for five years. He joined the traveling circuit to see the East Coast after he sold his share in a restaurant and bar in San Diego.

James Moyers said he and his coworkers often get a bad reputation. People assume they are alcoholics and drug addicts, he said. He gets the feeling people want them to come to town, but they also want them to leave.

“We’ve very hard-working people and very easygoing. We try and do our jobs the best we can,” he said.

Living on fair grounds across the country is a nice way to live, he and his wife agreed.

“I see places I’ve never seen and when I get tired of this place, me and my husband go out to dinner. We come back and I see all the lights and I’m home,” Rebecca Moyers said.

SLIDESHOW Hog Wild at the fair

SPECIAL REPORT Hog Wild at the PWC Fair

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