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Raised on the Midways of Mid-America

Debra Fisher Goldstein | Minnesota, United States

“Raised on the Midways of Mid-America” visits two children who travel with their parents eight months of each year, living in their trailer parked behind the rides, games, and screams of America's fairs and carnivals.

“Raised on the Midways of Mid-America” joins Hampton, 10, and Hadleigh, 12, on the road as they live eight months of the year at the fairs and carnivals of central United States.

Their home is an RV parked behind the midway; father, Chris, is a midway supervisor who works 18-hour days; mom, Allison, is a former teacher who homeschools her children. Living conditions are close and so is the family, as work, school, and family life merge. Hadleigh and Hampton have begun to follow their family’s three-generation fair legacy by working the food concessions, but as they enter their pre-teen years, questions arise about their schooling, and eventual career choices.

Will they choose the wonderland life that has captivated their parents and grandparents?

I came to this project fascinated with this nomadic, exciting lifestyle, while questioning dominant culturals beliefs of what a ‘healthy’ or ‘normal’ childhood looks like.

Over four years I evolved to a wider view of the diverse and robust ways people can parent, and the variety of environments in which children can thrive.

As a photographer and short-form writer, I tell the stories that connect us with our humanness, and to each other. 

My wish is to focus our eye on what bonds us, and narrow the divides we perceive between us. 

My mantra: The shortest distance between two people is a shared moment. 


Debra Fisher Goldstein




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