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Cool evening doesn't deter crowds at Hampstead carnival

Visitors enjoy the opening night of the Hampstead fire carnival.

The final carnival of the season got off to a soggy start Monday, as the Hampstead volunteer fire company kicked off a week of celebrations.

A light rain and cool-for-August temperatures kept people away at the start, but as the weather cleared up, and operators dried off the rides, visitors started to trickle in faster than the raindrops were trickling down. As operators toweled off seats and started up the rides, the contraptions groaned and squeaked with their wet joints. Soon though, none of the dampness nor creaks could stop many of the young ride-lovers out at the carnival looking to have a good time.

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Two of the young visitors enjoying each of the rides were 5-year-old cousins Bailey Hess and Finn Meyer. As soon as each small ride ended, the two would take off for the next in the line, working their way through all of their options as if they had a checklist of spots to hit. Bailey's parents Heidi and John Hess said they come out to the carnival every year.

"We took a chance with the weather today," John said. "We just enjoy the total family atmosphere."

The rides were more popular Monday among the younger crowd than the teens who tend to come out for the Reese and New Windsor carnivals. Along the midway, the low-to-the-ground rides like the mock tractors, the Kiddie Coaster and the Baja Buggies kept spinning, as the more adult rides like the Wipeout, Hurricane and others stayed still.

Sisters Emily, 7, and Kate, 3, Bystry were two of the children who couldn't get enough of the kiddie rides. On the mock-tractors, both continually honked their horns as they traveled around. Their father Tom Bystry said it was their first time to the Hampstead carnival, having just moved to the area from Parkton.

For those not interested in hitting up the rides, the dining area remained a popular destination. With the food tents in view of the stage, many opted to take their pit beef or pizza under the canopy while they took in the rockabilly-inspired stylings of Josh & Good Old Stuff. For Rosemary and Bill Donovan, it was the appearance of Josh & Good Old Stuff that encouraged to come out on a cloudy August evening. Bill said they try to come out every year because the food is so good, while Rosemary said it was the chance to run into friends that brings her to the carnival grounds.

There was one carnival-goer actively hoping not to run into any friends Monday evening, as Cassidy Sevison waited nervously in the dunk tank for the next player to pick up a softball.

Sevison, a 12th grade student at Manchester Valley, said she volunteered for the dunk tank last year, and decided to come out again. Despite the practice, she still flinched every time a ball was thrown.

"I wish it was a little warmer out," Sevison said moments before drenched.



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