Sideshow is a catchall term meant to embrace all things that can be considered shows, usually outdoors, under a tent, often as part of a carnival or circus.

The term originated in circus, probably in the 1850s, where the sideshow was literally a show set up on the side of the main circus tent. As it developed, the sideshow took on its own gravitas, becoming a cultural touchstone that helped define the carnival in America, and eventually as important as the institution of the circus itself.

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