According to carnival historian Joe Nickell, the pink beverage was invented in 1857 by a carny named Pete Conklin, who used to sell lemonade and peanuts on the circus midway.
The lemonade was yellow until one day when he ran out of water and was forced to borrow a tub of water from one of the bare- backed riders, who was using it to wash her pink tights.
Conklin didnt care, and after throwing in a lemon slice and some tartaric acid, he started selling the pink goo as strawberry lemonade and doubled his sales.
Luckily, Nickell says carnivals these days are more inclined to add the pink coloring via dye rather than soaking sweaty circus tights in a tub.
Nickell discusses pink lemonade and other circus staples in a new book, Secrets Of The Sideshows (University Press Of Kentucky).
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