Corn dogs, fried cookies and fundraising at the Sykesville-Freedom carnival

Sunny skies, blinking ride lights, pit beef smoke and a man blowing as many bubbles as he can over the heads of festivalgoers, all these things and more were on hand Tuesday evening to entice people to the Sykesville-Freedom volunteer fire company’s carnival.

Not that an institution so entrenched in the community need solicit much further engagement.


“Well, it’s an annual tradition,” said fire company President David Kreimer. “The company was started in 1933, the carnival probably a year or two afterward. It’s a big annual fundraiser.”

The carnival certainly drew out Stephanie Greenwell, of Westminster, and her 2-year-old daughter Mia Paris, she was chasing yellow rubber duckies as they whirled round a watery loop set right at eye level for her at one game stall.

“I work in Eldersburg, so I just new it was going on,” Greenwell said. “We missed Gamber, so we came down here.”

The carnival in Sykesville began on Saturday, June 16, and will run through Saturday, June 23, according to fire company Carnival Chairman Joe McCauley. Food stands open at 6 p.m. each night and rides begin at 7 p.m.

“We went the eight crazy nights just like Gamber did, so if you get a rainy night, you can make up for it,” he said. “It’s a long week, but it goes to buy equipment and keep that building running up there.”

The carnival will have live music every night, pit beef, pizza, flower and money wheels, a gun raffle and, on Friday, fireworks, McCauley said.

“Wednesday and Thursday is special ride night for $20,” he said. “Ride all night for $20? That’s not bad.”

And the thing McCauley’s most proud of at the carnival?

“The corn dogs,” he said with a laugh.

The corn dogs — freshly hand battered and fried to order — were tempting to Angela and Brian Billock, of Sykesville, but it was the fried Oreos that drew Angela in.

“They’re delicious,” she said. “That’s why I came here, was for the fried Oreos.”

It was the first evening of the carnival for the Billocks this year, and after savoring the fried Oreos — which come dusted in powdered sugar — they planned to try some rides.

“We haven’t hit anything yet,” Brian said. “We do like the Scrambler, those are fun.”

There are more than 25 rides at the carnival, according to McCauley, from the Scrambler to Ferris wheels to a walk through fun house, a little bit of everything for children and adults.


“It’s for the people in the community,” he said. “They support us all year long, so you have to have a week for them.”