George Fania, seated, spent a day with his former employer, the Amusements of America Circus, and former co-workers Karl Jackson, left, and Morris Vivona Sr. on June 18.
By Greg Hatala/The Star-Ledger
July 08, 2013
(Just to set the record straight--A of A is a carnival--not circus)
WEST ORANGE — When the Amusements of America circus came to town, children and adults alike were thrilled to see the clowns, acrobats and animals that signaled “come one, come all!” for an experience under the big top.
What they couldn’t see and likely never considered were the folks, not in costume and out of sight, who were vital for the show to go on.
George Fania, 68, a resident of Summit Ridge Center in West Orange, spent more than 40 years of his life being one of those people who worked in the background so the magic of the circus could continue in the center ring. Many of his years during those four decades were spent as an electrician with A of A, maintaining traveling carnival rides, lighting and machinery.
Fania left the circus world not by choice by necessity; back problems forced an earlier-than-desired retirement. But he never left behind the circus world. Fania said he missed his work, his co-workers and his former boss, Morris Vivona, and faithfully read “Carnival Magazine” to keep up with the industry.
Twilight Wish Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Doylestown, Pa., heard about George Fania when his volunteer advocate at the nursing facility contacted them. Audrey Larsen noted that Fania wished he could visit a traveling carnival one more time, and the organization granted that wish when it brought about a day with his Amusements of America friends at the St. Gregory the Great carnival in Hamilton Square on June 18.
“George’s former co-workers were unbelievable,” said Larsen, who attended the wish-granting with Fania, “They spent the entire day with him. George was overjoyed to reconnect with his career and co-workers and hopes to maintain connections with his carnival family.”