Romania's autumn fairs are a loud, colorful reminder that summer has come to an end. And for many families in poorer areas of the country, they are one of the few affordable events of the year.

Fairs like the one in Titu, northwest of Bucharest, which is on its 187th edition, were the sole public entertainment in 19th-century rural Romania. It's a bit more high-tech nowadays, but otherwise little has changed in two centuries.

For many families in poorer areas of the country, fairs are affordable public entertainment. Photo / Andreea Alexandru, AP
For many families in poorer areas of the country, fairs are affordable public entertainment. Photo / Andreea Alexandru, AP
A little girl is steered past a toy stall at the fair in Titu. Photo / Vadim Ghirda, AP
A little girl is steered past a toy stall at the fair in Titu. Photo / Vadim Ghirda, AP

Thousands flock to fields outside small cities, where entertainment areas are set up from mid-week until the weekend.

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Music and flashing lights strike visitors on arrival at the fairground, which is constantly engulfed in smoke from the food grills and an endless mix of food flavors.

The Dog, fete, guards the shooting stand at an autumn carnival. Photo / Vadim Ghirda, AP
The Dog, fete, guards the shooting stand at an autumn carnival. Photo / Vadim Ghirda, AP
Boys test their strength a a fair in Titu. Photo / Andreea Alexandru, AP
Boys test their strength a a fair in Titu. Photo / Andreea Alexandru, AP

Nowadays, music blasts from large speakers at deafening levels, featuring trendy pop songs from international bands or techno versions of Romanian popular songs.

Entertainers scream at the top of their lungs to advertise the rides, painted in a kitsch style with images of famous action movie actors like Vin Diesel or performers like Michael Jackson.

Las Vegas on Titu: An attendant adjusts his hat while waiting for customers to his shooting gallery. Photo / Andreea Alexandru, AP
Las Vegas on Titu: An attendant adjusts his hat while waiting for customers to his shooting gallery. Photo / Andreea Alexandru, AP
For families in poorer, Southern areas of Romania the fair is a rare opportunity for public entertainment. Photo / Andreea Alexandru
For families in poorer, Southern areas of Romania the fair is a rare opportunity for public entertainment. Photo / Andreea Alexandru

While younger people focus on the fairground rides and games, the elderly take advantage of the markets, stocking up on winter supplies of fruits, vegetables and other household items available at lower prices than in Romania's mainstream shops.

A merry go round at a fair in Calarasi. Photo / Andreea Alexandru, AP
A merry go round at a fair in Calarasi. Photo / Andreea Alexandru, AP

Romania, a nation of 19.4 million, is located on the Black Sea in southeastern Europe. It is one of the poorest members of the 28-nation European Union and has struggled to fight rampant corruption.

Sunset at one of Southern Romania's many autumn fairs. Photo / Vadim Ghirda, AP
Sunset at one of Southern Romania's many autumn fairs. Photo / Vadim Ghirda, AP
The rides light up at the start of an autumn fair in Titu, southern Romania. Photo / Vadim Ghirda, AP
The rides light up at the start of an autumn fair in Titu, southern Romania. Photo / Vadim Ghirda, AP
Children play in masks at the fair in Titu. Photo / Vadim Ghirda, AP
Children play in masks at the fair in Titu. Photo / Vadim Ghirda, AP
Loud and colorful: The fairs are reminder that summer has come to an end. Photo/Andreea Alexandru, AP
Loud and colorful: The fairs are reminder that summer has come to an end. Photo/Andreea Alexandru, AP
Crazy dance: Children play as a man ajusts his ride at the autumn fun fair. Photo / Vadim Ghirda, AP
Crazy dance: Children play as a man ajusts his ride at the autumn fun fair. Photo / Vadim Ghirda, AP
The fairs are held every year at the end of summer. Photo / Andreea Alexandru, AP
The fairs are held every year at the end of summer. Photo / Andreea Alexandru, AP
A swing ride spins into action at an autumn fair in Titu. Photo / Andreea Alexandru, AP
A swing ride spins into action at an autumn fair in Titu. Photo / Andreea Alexandru, AP