The thought of the end of summer and the beginning of another school year pushed 15-year-old Halle Schroeder's eyebrows to the sky and pulled her jaw to her chin in a look of absolute horror as she stood at Hampstead's carnival Monday night, with two friends wearing similar expressions.

"That's how you know it's the end of summer — when the Hampstead carnival comes to town," Schroeder, of Manchester, said.


Schroeder enjoys spending her summers playing lacrosse and does not want that to end, but the Hampstead carnival finalizes it, she said.

The carnival, which raises money for the Hampstead volunteer fire company, opened Monday and runs through Saturday. Through Friday the carnival is open from 6 to 11 p.m. with rides opening at 7 p.m., and on Saturday hours are from 3:45 until 11:30 p.m.

Paul Wilhelm, one of the coordinators of the carnival, said the Hampstead carnival draws people because it is the last one of the season for Carroll County.

"It's kind of nice because everyone comes here because it's at the end. There's nothing left. This is the last hurrah for the summer," Wilhelm said.

Marsha Amick, of Hampstead, has been taking her two sons, 13 and 8, to the carnival since they were little and has watched them progress through the event from the kiddie rides to the bigger attractions like Wipe Out and Hurricane, she said. Her sons get excited when they finally reach the next height requirement to go on a ride, Amick said.

It was a shock to her sons to learn there are only a few weeks left before schools kicks back in gear, Amick said.

"I said 'summer' the other day and it was an eye-opener [for my sons]," Amick said.

Liam Amick, 13, said although he will be the "top dog" as an eighth grader going into middle school this year, he is not ready for summer to end.

"They already have the school commercials," Liam said of the TV spots advertising back-to-school gear. "It gets me down."

For 15-year-old Benjamin Johnson, of Hampstead, the summer is far from over. With a trip to Ocean City next weekend and some ice cream from Dave and Buster's the following weekend, Benjamin said there is still summer left to be had.

Summer does not end until Labor Day for him, Benjamin said, even though he has already started school at that point.

Benjamin is a junior fire fighter for Hampstead's volunteer fire company and helps run the ring toss stand at the carnival. When he finds time for a ride however, his favorite is the yo-yo.

"It goes up a little bit and spins you around like a crazy person," Benjamin said.

Mike Moxley, of Hampstead, a volunteer driver and firefighter for Hampstead, was at the carnival helping run one of the stands and said he is not affected by the end of summer like the kids. He still has to go in to work every day, regardless of the season.


"I know a lot of kids think 'school is just around the corner,'" Moxley said.