It was a hot day at the Island County Fair in Langley on Thursday, but 76-year-old Connie “Bubbles” Amarosa was playing it cool.
As the thermometer edged toward 80 degrees, Amarosa was comfortable in the shade behind the counter of the bottle-toss booth, along with the stuffed animals she was eager to give away.
Well, maybe not give away — it costs $5 for three oversized softballs, emphasis on soft. Object: to knock down a stack of four milk-bottle-shaped targets about six feet away.
“It’s easy,” said Amarosa. “We’re losing lots of stuff. Just pretend you’re a baseball player.”
As she talked, a young mother tried her luck. Close, but no cigar. No stuffed
Bart Simpson dolls, no stuffed tigers, no stuffed monkeys. Ziltch. “Oh well,” she said.
Amarosa said she’s from New York, and this road swing with Paradise Amusements is her first to the West Coast. On this trip, she has set up in California, Oregon and Washington.
“I’ve been in the business 60 years,” she said. “My family was in it. I’ve been all over the rest of the country.”
A mother of three grown sons and grandmother of six, Amarosa said there has been more to her life than fairgrounds and carnivals.
“I’m a retired Army nurse,” she said. “I was a second lieutenant in Korea. I even jumped behind enemy lines.” She didn’t elaborate.
She said “Bubbles” is her stage name, acquired back when she used to manage “girl shows” on the midways of America. She didn’t elaborate.
Favorite concession? “I liked every game I’ve played. But I really like the baskets and balloons.”
Plans for retirement? “No.”
The local clientele? “I think they’re nice. They seem to be.”
Next stop? “Somewhere else in Washington, I’m not sure where.”
Getting antsy, and eager to drum up business, she hailed those strolling by.
“Are you ready? I need a baseball player.”
The fair continues through Sunday.
Roy Jacobson can be reached at 221-5300 or email@example.com.