Food, rides and more food at the Union Bridge Fireman's Carnival

It was a sunny, late spring Tuesday evening at the Union Bridge volunteer fire company’s 2018 annual Fireman’s Carnival — just balmy enough to suggest the coming of June, but not yet muggy and buggy.

About a dozen people had set up their folding chairs in anticipation of the coming set by the River Bend Band, the twanging harmonies of a sound checking pedal steel guitar filled the air, mingling with the smell of pit beef.


“We put the beef on all day long,” says fire company volunteer Barb Warehime, who has running pit beef and turkey stand a bit behind and away from the entertainment stage. “We put it on about 7 a.m. and by the time we come in here it’s ready for us to start opening up at 6 p.m.”

Of course, Warehime would like to sell a lot of those sandwiches, the proceeds going to help fund the fire company — “This is our big fundraiser of the year” — and so far she said, carnival goers have been game to help.

“Right now, we’re doing pretty good as far as tonight, about even,” Warehime said. “A lot of them like the turkey; a lot of them like the beef.”

It was not all about food though: The Union Bridge annual Fireman’s Carnival launched Monday and runs through Saturday, June 2, with live music every night but Wednesday, when the Fireman’s Parade will be held.

And then of course there are the rides.

“I kind of wish they had the Zipper,” said Timmy Hamrick, describing the inverting chainsaw ride that he had hoped to climb into Tuesday evening, but he found a ride partner for the Ferris Wheel nonetheless.

Every night is ride night at the carnival, with unlimited rides after 6 p.m. for $16, and $14 with a coupon.

Joy Bowman watched the rides — which were still casting shadows, the sun too bright yet for their lights — and noted the forecast looked a little rainy during the rest of the week.

“It’s beautiful right now,” she said. She plans to come back any way, bringing everything back to the carnival good. “Best food you can have,” she said. “I’ll come down and support them every night for the food.”

Food like the fried country ham sandwich. “That’s a speciality for us, absolutely,” Bowman said.

And a favorite for Union Bridge Mayor and fire company Public Information Officer Perry Jones as well, who pointed out all the tempting treats on hand.

“Our french fries are freshly cut: They buy fresh potatoes and cut them and fry them every day,” he said. “The guys do the crab cakes as you buy them rather than having them sitting there so everybody has fresh crab cakes. I think they are some of the best crab cakes around.”

But for Jones, it was a country ham sandwich that called his name Tuesday.

“Country ham’s not good for you, but I love it anyway,” he said. “That’s what you go to the carnival for, you eat everything that’s not good for you.”