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Frank Zaitshik Remembers long time Wade & Link Shows Manager, George Parks
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Even though George Parks was only a first-generation carnival guy, he had a real jump start on the business.  Hailing from the Knoxville, TN area, he was taken under the wing of his uncle, Red Parks, who introduced him to men such as Donnie Anderson, Mike Curry, and Pee Wee Hoskins, who all came from the area.  They had a common bond, being from Knoxville, and together they formed a connection due to their common roots.  They were often collectively called the “Knoxville Mafia”.  Who knew Knoxville had such a rich carnival heritage?

George married his wife Sharon and together they worked for Uncle Red.  They traveled with Fred “Loose Change” Cantrell and his Playland Amusements. 

In the early 70s, George and Sharon came to the Roy Strickland-managed World Of Pleasure Shows. There, they operated Skee Balls, arcades, and cookhouses on both WOP and Link Carnival.

It was on Link Shows where I first met George and Sharon. Later, in the early 80s, George and Sharon joined their old friends Roy and Pat Strickland on the Wade Unit of WG Wade Shows, where they worked for the rest of their career, retiring in 2017.

Sharon & George Parks

I wasn't sure what to make of George when I first met him.  He had a rough, grumpy exterior, — yes, even when he was young, —and some could be put off by his curmudgeonly demeanor. 

When you got to know George, however, you found that his moral compass was right on track and he was true to his convictions, fiercely loyal to those close to him, and the show he worked for.  George quickly grew on me, and I came to see him as a loyal employee, devoted to the success of our show and the well-being of his family.

Despite that first impression, George had a big heart for those he loved and admired, and he supported his family, friends and the industry he had made his life's work.  Even when his health was failing, George would come to the office in the morning to support his wife Sharon and prepare the office for the day ahead.  He was a dedicated show person to the very end.

George was one of those “characters” we come across so often in this wonderful industry.  They make the business so colorful and interesting. There are few, “with it” or not, that had his dedication, loyalty and love of family and friends.  These are the attributes I really admired in George and I'll miss his presence and yes, even his sarcasm.
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