Golden dusky sunlight over green fields, bright flags and lights, the shrill screams of thrills and laughter, the unmistakable aroma of pit beef or funnel cake: Fire carnival season in Carroll County got under way Friday night in Gamber.
And if the long lines for tickets and the Cliff Hangar were any indication, it’s a good start.
“The weather has cooperated perfectly so far, hopefully it continues to have that perfect weather effect so everyone can come out and enjoy themselves,” said Bruce Bouch, public information office with the Gamber volunteer fire company.
“This is about camaraderie, this is about community, this is about family and good food and good times.”
There are a couple of things new this year, according to Bouch. First, the fire company is trying a new ride vendor in Rosedale, which he said brought a wider array of rides and games.
But more importantly the carnival will run from Friday, May 24, through Saturday, June 1, with Wednesday, May 29, a night off.
“This is our first time to do Friday, we normally start on Saturday,” Bouch said. “We are closed on Wednesday so everyone gets a break, gets to recharge, and then go full blast Thursday, Friday and Saturday again.”
Leslie Caperton, of Westminster, brought her daughter Bryce and Bryce’s friends, Belle Gscheidle and Liberty Bryant to Gamber and watched as Liberty and Bryce sped by on the Rock N Roll ride.
“I don’t get on any of the rides, but I do love the funnel cake and the pit beef and the corn dogs, but mainly for the kids to get on the rides,” Leslie said. “We usually do it every year. We usually go to all the carnivals.”
“I’ve been to this carnival three, four times in my life and it’s super fun,” Liberty said. “They have so many rides here.”
“It was fun,” Bryce added, “but this ride, Rock N Roll, gave me a heart attack!”
At the dime pitch, Heather Hewitt and her 9-year-old daughter Evelyn had also come down from Westminster for the opening of the carnival season. They had already won three glasses ant what Evelyn described as “my game.”
“It’s the best!” she said. “I got a mug, but my favorite one is two characters from ‘The Princess Bride.’ ”
Evenlyn rode some rides too — “My most favorite is the spinner, it spins you around. I was so scared of doing that last year, super scared” — but mainly, she was just excited that carnival time was here again.