Winfield fire carnival brings families back time and again

The siights and sounds from Monday night at the Winfield Fire Company Carnival.

The Winfield volunteer fire company carnival drew a sea of vehicles to its green lawn Monday night, leaving little room for latecomers by 7:30 p.m.

By the entrance, two telescopes stood in front of the Westminster Astronomical Society’s tent offering solar viewings with large protective coverings to protect the eyes of passersby.


Illinois resident Christian Shipley, 21, walked up to the stand Monday evening with his father Clint, interested because he is the vice president of the Iowa State Space Society.

Clint Shipley, who has family all around Winfield, visits Carroll County every summer.

“We try to make it a point to come to the carnival every year,” Clint Shipley said. “It’s a chance to see people. Everybody’s got kids and everything, but they all come out here.”

He said his son enjoys the carnival, too, because since they have so much family around, more people know him in Winfield than in his hometown in Illinois.

“Plus you can’t get crab cakes in the Midwest,” Christian Shipley said. “I usually don’t eat seafood up there.”

Carroll County residents came from all different municipalities for rides like the Zipper, Rok N Roll, slide and car carousel — and for chances to win stuffed animals, goldfish and lizards from the myriad game offerings.

Stephanie Zufal, a longtime Manchester resident, came to the carnival with her 3-year-old son, Jayden. With help, Jayden tried his hand at shooting a plastic cup with a gun for a prize. She said coming every year is a tradition for the family.

“We usually take both our kids every year,” she said, “but [my daughter] is in Ocean City with my mom this year.”

Zufal said Jayden couldn’t wait to get on the rides, but they wanted to play some games first.

Finksburg residents Phil and Debbie Cwiek, however, were already watching their daughter over at the Zipper.

They watched her board the ride, one that takes its passengers in an oval-shaped cycle and allows them to rock the cabs upside down, before it started.

“There she is in the green shorts!” Debbie Cwiek pointed, finally spotting her daughter amid a whirlwind of pink and yellow compartments.

“We grew up in this area, and we always as kids went to the Winfield Carnival,” her husband explained. “We both went to South Carroll [High School].”

On Monday night they came with other family members who still live in the vicinity, and said they also go to the Gamber fire carnival every year because it’s so close to their home.


Other family members were watching their younger kids take less tumultuous trips on rides set up for younger children, Cwiek said.

Blaine Robertson, 17, turned his carnival attendance into one that makes him a summer profit.

Soon to be a senior at Francis Scott Key High School, Robertson has spent the past five summers divvying out table tennis balls to carnival goers hoping to win goldfish. This year he recruited his friend Dontae Smith, 17, to work with him.

“Yeah I meet a lot of people,” he said. “It’s a good summer job, and good for gas money.”

At the other end of the carnival, Winfield volunteers and fire company President Robert Farver were working the beverage booth — which flanked a burger and hot dog stand to the left, and a pit beef stand to the right.

Farver said last year’s carnival raised about $160,000 of which the fire company was able to use $65,000 for its services.

“We always want to raise the bar,” said Farver, who hopes this year’s carnival earns more money for the department than last year. “We offer good food, a lot of rides, and try to take care of the community.

The carnival will continue until Saturday, July 14, with live music every night, a grand fireworks show at 10:15 Friday evening and its final prize drawing on Saturday afternoon.