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Carroll fire company carnivals returning in Hampstead, Union Bridge starting this week

A couple fire departments are bringing back their carnivals this month for the first time since the pandemic started.

Hampstead Volunteer Fire Company is having its carnival at the former North Carroll High School starting Monday and continuing through Saturday, Aug. 21; the Union Bridge Fire Company is having a carnival on the fire station grounds the weekend of Aug. 19 to 21, and the Gamber and Community Fire Company is having its carnival Sept. 3 to 11 on the firehouse grounds.

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Riders on the swings are silhouetted as the sun sets on the opening night of the Hampstead fire company carnival Monday, August 12, 2019.
Riders on the swings are silhouetted as the sun sets on the opening night of the Hampstead fire company carnival Monday, August 12, 2019. (Dylan Slagle)

Eugene Curfman, president of Union Bridge Fire Company, said not only did the pandemic cause them to cancel the carnival last year, but they also had to reschedule their usual Memorial Day weekend carnival in May. The state of the emergency was not lifted in time for them to properly plan the event at its usual time, he said.

Although last year’s carnival, which is a fundraiser for the department, didn’t happen, the fire station was not hurt thanks to the CARES Act money they received from the county, Curfman said. He’s hopeful this month’s carnival will make up for revenue lost from the May event, he said.

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This year’s carnival will look slightly different. Instead of rides, they will have inflatables or bounce houses kids can play on. Nightly music entertainment will be provided — a live DJ will play Thursday night, the classic rock band Special Delivery will perform Friday and the country band Dixie Wind will play on Saturday.

The fire company is also planning to have a beer garden.

“It would be the first time for us to have a beer garden tied into [the carnival],” Curfman said.

In the entertainment area, Curfman said attendants can sip on a beer while enjoying the music.

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“People can come enjoy the great food an have a night of entertainment,” Curfman said.

For more information on the carnival, visit the fire company’s website at www.ubfc8.org/news/385/Summer-Carnival.

Jeannie Green, Gamber’s co-carnival chairperson, encouraged the community to buy tickets by Sept. 1. They can be purchased online and mailed out. She also noted that if the public purchases ride tickets by Sept. 1, it would cost $15 to ride all night instead of $30.

Gamber’s carnival will be closed Sept. 8.

Like Union Bridge, Gamber also did not have a carnival last year due to the pandemic and initially planned to have its carnival in May, too, but the pandemic still did not cooperate.

“Luckily, our ride company could move us to September,” she said.

Green said they missed out on funding by not only canceling last year’s carnival, but the station’s weekly bingo nights. They were, however, given two small grants that was “enough to hold us over.” They also held pit beef and crab drive-thru events that also helped.

“You do what you got to do and pull together,” Green said.

The September carnival will feature 25 rides, fireworks, food and live music. Attendants can also participate in a raffle with a total giveaway of $11,000. Tickets for the raffle can be purchased in advance at the station or online.

For more information about the carnival, visit www.gambervfd.org/apps/public/events/eventView.cfm?Event_ID=249.

Hampstead’s carnival will be in a new location this year, in the parking lot of the former North Carroll High School on Panther Drive. It’s website states food will be served each night at 6 p.m. and music will be performed by bands Appaloosa, Amish Outlaws, Bootleg, Eclipse, Six Pack Rodeo and Dean Crawford and The Dunn’s River Band.

Rides will be available from 6 to 11 p.m., a fire prevention ambassador contest will happen Aug. 17 at 8 p.m. and a raffle Aug. 21 at 10:45 p.m. They will not have a fireman’s parade this year.

For more information on the carnival, www.hampsteadvfd.org/content/carnival/.

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