As the clock struck 7 p.m., Monday, July 15, the sirens at the Arbutus Fire Department blared and 6-year-old Allison Zimmerman and her sister, 8-year-old Abby, squealed with delight.
The sirens marked the start of the 75th annual Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department community carnival, and it was the girls' first time attending the event.
"They see the rides start spinning and get so excited," said Pasadena resident Lindsay McDermott, the girls' cousin.
McDermott used to work for Shaw and Son Amusements, the company that puts on the event every year. She said she keeps coming out because it's a great chance to spend time with the kids and watch them play.
With temperatures in the 90s, dozens of people poured into the carnival grounds to enjoy food, drinks, games and rides ranging from kiddie slides to "The Zipper" and "The Gravitron."
"We're excited that it's finally here," said carnival committee co-chairman Glen Peacock. "It takes months for us to plan, and now it's here and before we know it, it's gone."
Peacock and committee co-chairman Lew Harvey were bustling about the carnival grounds shortly before the 7 p.m. start hoping to ensure that the fire department's biggest annual fundraiser went off without a hitch.
They hoped the projected forecast, which predicted temperatures could soar above 100 degrees later this week, wouldn't affect the turnout for the event that runs 7 to 11 p.m through Saturday.
"It depends on how hot it gets," Peacock said. "If it's in the lower 90s people will still come, this parking lot will be full."
The heat didn't stop Relay resident Alyssa Floyd, and her sons — Ethan Floyd, 9, and Connor Floyd, 5, — from coming out to the carnival with their friend Lincoln Persons, 5.
"It's awesome," Ethan shouted after his second turn down the giant slides. "I want to go again."
His mom said she has been coming to the carnival every year since she was a child in the '80s.
"For just some carnival fun, some summer fun," she said. "I think the proceeds support the fire department which I think is a good cause, and they (the kids) don't mind the heat."
At the carnival, there will be a pyrotechnic display Friday evening. A raffle package awarded Saturday includes a mini football helmet signed by former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, a poster signed by Orioles' Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken Jr., tents, chairs and four tickets to an Orioles game.
The carnival kicked off with the fire department's annual parade down East Drive. Hundreds of residents braved the heat to watch the fire trucks, local bands, community organizations, recreation league baseball teams and Girl Scout troops drive, dance and march down East Drive toward the carnival grounds behind the fire house.
Del. James Malone Jr. of District 12A, which includes Arbutus, announced the parade from a stand across from Sorrento's restaurant with District 12A Del. Steven DeBoy, 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk and District 12 state delegate candidate Terri Hill.
Anthony Manzanares, 42, and his 3-year-old son Manny walked from their Arbutus home to watch the parade, Manny's first.
"I love being able to walk to a carnival and walk to a parade," Manzanares said.
As Manny shouted at the fire trucks and flashing lights from atop his father's shoulders, Manzanares said they were going to go to the carnival later in the week.
"We're definitely going to make it down later," he said. "He loves it."