Eight days of spinning people in tiny cages, throwing baseballs at plates and trying to guess people's weights brought in $570,000 to the Big Glen Burnie Carnival this year, topping last year's gross receipts by more than $57,000.
Muriel Carter, president of the Glen Burnie Improvement Association, said the carnival was a resounding success despite a minor disturbance Friday night that forced it to shut down early.
After a group of youths entered the grounds "clearly looking for trouble," police dispersed the group and suggested to organizers that they close early, Mrs. Carter said. The carnival was scheduled to run until 11 p.m., but it was shut down about 10:45 p.m. Typically, the GBIA lets the carnival run 30 to 60 minutes past closing time on the last two nights.
"I think some people were disappointed, but I think they realized it was the best thing," she said. "When all the ruckus started, the police advised us we should shut it down."
County police confirmed that they broke up a fight Friday night but that no arrests were made. Police gave no details on who was involved or what caused the altercation.
The carnival, which ran from July 31 to Aug. 8., opened at 7 p.m Saturday as scheduled and was completely shut down by 11:30 p.m., Mrs. Carter said.
HTC Carnival receipts were $5,000 less the final night this year than last year, Mrs. Carter said, which some workers attributed to television news reports about the disturbance Friday night. But Mrs. Carter thinks the lower receipts Saturday were due to early forecasts of bad weather. Although the forecasts proved wrong, many would-be carnival goers may have made other plans, she said.
Overall, Mrs. Carter thinks the carnival raised more money this year because it rained for only one hour of one night. Last year, the carnival was shut down for at least an hour on three nights due to rain, she said.
Mrs. Carter said the GBIA never knows how many people attend, but she guessed attendance was about the same as last year.
All of this year's expenses have not yet been counted, so Mrs. Carter could not give an estimate of the net profit. But, she said, the GBIA generally gets about 20 percent of the gross. Last year, the carnival made $109,000 for the association, most of which goes back into the community for various projects and charitable organizations.
The Big Glen Burnie Carnival, established in 1908 and held on the association's grounds off First Avenue, is the GBIA's primary fund-raising event. The group will host a dinner-dance at La Fontaine Bleu on Sept. 25 to thank the more than 1,000 volunteers who helped make this year's carnival a success.