Pop-Up Carnival

While on a quiet solo bike ride around my neighborhood on Saturday, I stumbled upon a pop-up parking lot carnival. This was quite a gift from the Chicago gods, as I love carnivals and their childlike, old-fashioned and slightly creepy vibes. These pop-up carnivals are also a fun way to re-use public space and bring the community together. This one was surreal, placed on a busy road between a massive grocery store and a strip mall.

During the last two years of bicycling in Chicago, I have discovered and appreciated so much interesting “stuff” that I never would have noticed otherwise.

Do you ever feel that your bike is a key to a much cooler and more unexpected world? If not, I suggest that the next time you’re bored, you head out with your two wheels and a sense of adventure.

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10 thoughts on “Pop-Up Carnival

  1. Carolyn I. says:

    That’s what I do when I am bored, take out the bike and explore..it’s always an adventure!

  2. Kate says:

    Wow! A pop-up carnival – that is amazing! There doesn’t ever seem to be carnivals here in Melbourne. Darn.


  3. Daniella says:

    Wow… gorgeous photos! I just got new tires on my bike and can’t wait to head out and explore my city more…

  4. Aaron says:

    Do you ever feel that your bike is a key to a much cooler and more unexpected world?

    Definitely. Here are a few of the many experiences I’ve had on bike tours: many tremendous storms; talking with a farmer about life, the universe, and everything while sitting in his two-story tall ultra high-tech sprayer; meeting a father/son team who drive their harvester throughout middle America; spotting complex micro ecosystems by the side of the road; looking down at 13ers from 14K on the highest road in North America; finding a $50 bill in the glove that I had hung on my bike while I was eating; giving that $50 to a man who needed some help making his rent; riding the tail of a storm system across the Mississippi; listening to cows scream all night; gazing upon an endless plain of cows and manure in a feed lot; stunning a waitress by eating two gigantic breakfasts after cycling out of two days of isolation; joining a ranching family for a BBQ in celebration of the birthday of their son, a professional rodeo rider; listening to the singing of elk; appreciating the entire passage of the sun from horizon to horizon.

  5. tina says:

    very beautiful photos, loving the soft color hues of pinks and blues as well as the sense of adventure you brought through the photos. there truly is nothing like seeing the world on two wheels.

  6. Doug says:

    Great pictures Dottie.

  7. Those are so fun to see and at the same time so weird! Your beautiful pastel tones make it look surreal, almost like a ghost carnival or something from a dream.

  8. elena says:

    what?! I love carnivals!! Where in Chicago was this? So bummed I missed this :(

  9. Dave says:

    When I lived in the suburbs of Portland growing up, I remember a pop-up carnival used to happen from time to time in the parking lot of a giant shopping mall we had there. I never actually went, but I always saw it.

    We have yearly pop-up carnivals in Portland in our waterfront park for things like Cinco de Mayo and the Rose Festival (a Portland-specific thing).

    As far as exploring goes, it’s one of the things I love best about riding my bike:


  10. Where was this? It kind of reminds me of the Big movie…did you happen to make any wishes from strange fortune tellers?

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