Summer carnivals are the lifeblood of most of Carroll County's volunteer fire departments.
Fire companies count heavily on proceedsthey raise from the five-day carnivals to fuel their operating budgets through the year and buy such basic items as fire engines and ambulances.
County residents count on the fairs to provide them with entertainment and good food during the long, hot summer.
At fire department fairs, a visitor can find all kinds of games, rides, food, raffles, beauty pageants and parades.
These traditional county events usually are highlights in the communities where they take place.
Music at the events usually ranges from garage and basement bands that sound a little off-key to the highly professional Johnson Mountain Boys, who sing and play traditional bluegrass music.
Some of thecounty's fire companies make $15,000 to $20,000 in profits from these summertime events.
But sometimes a week of rain can spoil a department's chances of making much of a profit.
However, visitors to the Carroll County who are interested in catching a glimpse of a the large community of volunteers who are working for a good cause simplycan go to any one of the 11 fire department carnivals during the summer.
Lineboro, Pleasant Valley and Westminster traditionally do not have fire department carnivals.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
* Union Bridge: May 27-June 1; Union Bridge Fire Hall Grounds, Locust and Whyte streets; 775-7422.
* Gamber: May 27-June 1; Gamber Carnival Grounds,Route 32 and Niner Road; 795-3445.
* New Windsor: June 3-8; New Windsor Carnival Grounds, Water Street; 635-6373.
* Taneytown: June10-15; Taneytown Carnival Grounds, Route 140 and Harney Road; 756-6253.
* Mount Airy: June 10-15; Mount Airy Carnival Grounds, east side of Route 27, off of Twin Arch Road; 829-0308.
* Sykesville: June 24-29; Sykesville Fireman's Park, Route 32 and Freedom Avenue; 795-9311.
* Harney: June 24-29; Harney Carnival Grounds, 5130 Harney Road; 756-6464.
* Manchester: July 1-6; Manchester Carnival Grounds, York Street; 374-4259.
* Winfield: July 8-13; Winfield Carnival Grounds, Old Route 26 near South Carroll High School; 795-1333.
* Reese: July 22-27; Reese Fire Co. Carnival Grounds, Route 140 four miles east of Westminster; 848-7172.
* Hampstead: Aug. 12-17; Hampstead Carnival Grounds, 1341 North Main St.; 374-2424.