The ground was still wet from a day of on-again, off-again rain, but by the time Sykesville's carnival was ready to start up Monday evening, the sun was shining and families were ready for an evening of fun.
This year members of the Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department have added two days to the traditional carnival week — the carnival kicked off Saturday instead of the usual Monday start. That decision gave families an entire weekend of rides, games, food and carnival entertainment.
On Monday, Barbara Summers and her granddaughter Emma Moore were among those taking advantage of the sudden fair weather.
Emma, 7, spent a good portion of her evening playing at the Beach Party fun house — an attraction themed after the American International Pictures' "Beach Party" movie series from the 1960s, starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. The fun house featured images of dancing teens and an animatronic doll — as well as plenty of '60s rock and beach music hits.
Initially a bit tentative of a spinning tunnel at the exit of the fun house, Emma found her courage and took the plunge through the swirling tube with the help of some newfound friends. After her first pass, she stayed to help show others how to get through.
"It was hard at first," Emma said. "But on the second time through I figured out I had to walk through sideways. After that it was fun."
Summers said she and Emma have already been to the New Windsor and Gamber carnivals this year.
"It's just a great experience to get out and go to all of the ones you can," Summers said. "I'm a big fan of the music they play."
Adding music to the event was the band Full Effect, performing hits of classic rock. Other bands on the schedule for upcoming nights of the carnival are Problem Child on Tuesday, Richie Fields performing Wednesday, Inside Out scheduled for Thursday, The Good Rock-In Daddy's slated for Friday and Bad With James on Saturday.
Bill Carlile and his son Dylan, 7, were spending the evening hitting as many rides as possible. Dylan said riding rides are his favorite part of the carnival — even if he did get a little wet sitting down on several of them after the rain.
Sykesville's carnival features a number of classics, from Tilt-A-Whirl to the Ferris wheel. Rides that were enclosed stayed dry throughout the day, while those open to the elements, such as the large swings, collected water — soaking riders' and spraying passersby with the empty seats.
Jennifer Roberts brought her son Donald Seward, 4, to the fair for the evening, saying a trip to the carnival is a family tradition.
"I've been going here ever since I was his age," Roberts said. "It's just something I do every year. I love the atmosphere of it."
If you go
The annual Sykesville carnival continues until Saturday, June 20, at the carnival grounds behind the Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department, 6680 Sykesville Road (Route 32). The carnival opens nightly at 6 p.m., with rides starting at 7 p.m.. Fireworks are scheduled for Friday, June 19. For more information go to sykesvillefire.org.