A foul wind whipped up and the clouds turned a thick gray over the streets of Manchester on Tuesday evening, a few minutes before the parade was scheduled to start on the second day of the Manchester Volunteer Fire Company Carnival.
Still the parade’s announcer was in a cheery mood. The wind, he boomed over the speakers, was just going to blow the storm right over.
And it mostly did, until a few minutes of rain broke out, sending most of the spectators lining York Street running for porches and cars.
The stalwart parade stepped off at 7 p.m. anyway, with the Westminster Municipal Band leading the way, brass instruments shining with water droplets and dark green uniforms slightly damp.
The Manchester Volunteer Fire Company apparatuses followed closely behind, leading the way for parade participants from 4-H’ers to swimmers, to Jeep owners to Scouts. Most of the audience soon returned.
The carnival continues through July 6 between 6-11 p.m. each day. Information about kitchen specials and entertainment for each day is available at manchestervfd.org.
Rides are the same price each night and tickets can be purchased individually or an all night pass for $20.
On Independence Day, July 4, Manchester’s annual fireworks show will begin when the sky is sufficiently dark, about 10 p.m. and is planned to run 20-25 minutes. A rain date is set for July 6 in case of wet weather.
Like most fire companies in Carroll, Manchester anticipates the carnival will be its biggest fundraiser each year.
Carnival Chairman Michael Crouch said the parade was bigger than it has been in a long time with more participants.
Over in the food stand where he was set up to work for the night, he said the pit beef has been a popular sell, and they are trying out a new recipe for the crab cakes.
More than an hour before the parade started, it wasn’t hard to find a few groups camped out already.
That’s the secret, Karen Otto said, to getting a good spot. She was waiting to cheer on her grandson who was walking in the parade with the Colts, his rec football team. It has become a family tradition for them to come out for the past three years, she said.
Within the carnival grounds, the auxiliary to the fire company gathered around their booth in patriotic red parade outfits.
There was talk this year of moving the booth from where it has been for years and years. But the controversy was averted and it remained in its normal spot tucked in the back row between the glass pitch and the ice cream stand.
They have been doing their country store game, just 25 cents a play, for at least the past 44 years that Linda Black can remember since she joined the auxiliary. The paint stirrers they use for the game are now antiques, she said.
Across the street from the fire hall, the Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church put finishing touches on its float, a pickup decorated with palm trees, inflatable giraffes and crocodiles.
The parade is a tradition for the vacation Bible School, which has its registration event on Sunday, July 7.
After the parade concluded, the music, rides and games continued to whirl into the night.
Crouch encouraged people to come out before the week ends.