'A good time' is promised at Arbutus carnival

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After a fight last summer caused officials to consider cutting short the annual Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department's carnival, this year's festivities will see more security, officials said.

The carnival at the firehouse parking lot kicks off today with a parade, which moves through East Drive and ends at the firehouse. The carnival runs until Saturday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Uniformed officers from the Baltimore County Police Department, as well as a half dozen from the private security firm Wolf Professional Security, will be on hand to provide the "necessary precautions to make it a fun event," said Glen Peacock, the fire department carnival committee chairman. There also will be a handful of security officers in plain clothes.

"It's gonna be beefed up," he said. "I think you'll see a lot more police presence this year than in the past."

The fight between two teenage girls drew a crowd of more than 50, and resulted in an immediate doubling of the initial security personnel for the rest of the carnival.

Carnival-goers can expect the beer garden, amusement park rides, games and food that have all become an end-of-July staple for Baltimore County residents.

Shaw and Sons Amusements, a Baltimore-based company, will provide about 16 carnival rides, spokesman Dennis Gilli said.

Planning begins about two or three months before the event that typically brings in $30,000. The weather's influence on turnout is so significant that if it rains or it's too hot, that number can plummet to the low $20,000s, Peacock said.

"It's huge," he said. "It's one of our largest fundraisers that we depend on to help pay bills."

For Peacock, who's in his seventh year as chairman of the committee, the carnival is a way to gather lifelong residents of Arbutus and people from all over Baltimore County for excitement and to provide a boost for local businesses.

"A bunch of people have a good time," he said. "Watching the kids and families have a good time — that's why I do it."

Wristbands for nightly unlimited rides are being sold for $23.

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