The Coleman Brothers Carnival completed its 94th year this past Sunday, finishing its two weeks in Middletown with sunny, 70-degree weather in stark contrast to the cold rain—and flood warnings—it brought last weekend. Since 1916, the carnival has made its way to Middletown every spring, and with it, as local legend goes, comes “The Coleman Brothers Curse”—clouds, rain, and even, in 2007, snow.

Newspaper articles as far back as the ’50s document the nasty weather the carnival carried with it.

“Local prognosticators use the Coleman Bros. Carnival as their guide to predict rain for late April,” a 1952 article in the Bridgeport Sunday Herald reported. “Seems every season, just as the last tent peg is driven, the rains come.”

A Hartford Courant article in 1964 read, “It has been a local axiom the opening of the Coleman carnival means rain, but Dick Coleman [carnival owner] denies the charge.”

In 1968, the Courant reported that Dick Coleman had correctly predicted rain on the opening day of his carnival for 53 years. In 1970, according to Courant archives, rain not only greeted the opening of the carnival, but it also forced many carnival events to close.

In 1978, according to New London’s The Day, rain created so much mud that owner Robert Coleman and his employees had difficulty setting up the carnival.

“It’s a great challenge to tear down and set up in the rain,” he said. “I was born and raised in this. My dad founded this. My brother and I went into it, and now my two sons are involved.”

As the carnival departs Middletown to continue its season by traveling along the East Coast, the week ahead looks sunny and gorgeous, with highs up to 80 degrees.

  • Francislafountain

    heloow evryone at the colman family how is boby jr and timmy and the rest of the family.i worked for you all for 20 years every year. but i retired from your show.and cornaval.i worked in the kid land for long time and than the big boss.of the kids land.i do miss every one in the family you all treated me like family and took car of me all the time.and made sure nothing happens to me.the last time i work there my dad past away,and i was really was not my self after that,i am no longer leaveing in ct. i bought a house in the nc and owm 18 ancers of land and a house that was built in 1946.put a lot of work in the house but it is all emaild in i am alsoo on face book.i do miss you all very badly,and hope everyone is ok tell timmy.i said hi and bobby jr also.hay is tc still working for you all?