Miami Showmen’s Association Rest
A gaudy painted
elephant stands in memory of south Florida’s fallen carnies.
Southern Memorial Park, on a drab stretch of the Dixie Highway north of Miami,
houses large plots devoted to Catholics, Jews, Protestants, and carnies.
The sunny plot, dominated by enormous statues of
elephants and lions, is the final resting place of many of south Florida’s best
carnival barkers, weight guessers, merry-go-round operators, cotton candy
hawkers, and all of the other assorted jobs that tend to follow the carnival
from season to season around the country. A row of life-sized painted animal
statues stand guard over their tombs.
David Endy, the first president of the Miami
Showmen’s Association and the grandfather of carnivals in South Florida, died
in 1982 after more than 50 years leading carnivals– he is buried on this plot.
Others entombed beneath the elephant are Louis “Peanuts” Baker, Earl “Doc”
Norman, Sol “Duke” Geffen, Bernard “Bucky” Allen, John “Whitey” Hilferty,
Alfred “Rhody” Ridings and Harry “Lively” Bernstein, whose nickname is an
ironic one to be inscribed on a grave marker
The noble-looking animal statues were imported from
Italy, and get a fresh coat of paint every four or five years. The blanket on
the elephant’s back reads “Show folks. May they always be right, but right or
wrong, Show folks.” The gaudy pachyderm is visible from all over the memorial
park, and has become its unofficial ambassador: even if your loved one is
buried far away from the carnival plot, they have the elephant to stand guard