Carnivals entertain everyone on summertime evenings. They're so popular that firemen's carnivals are a Carroll County tradition. Next week, from Monday to Saturday, the Arcadia Volunteer Fire Company will hold its carnival, with rides beginning at 6:30 p.m. every day.
The bright lights of the Arcadia carnival grounds are easy to spot, about 5 miles south of Hampstead. If you're traveling south on Route 30, turn left on Arcadia Avenue and left on Carnival Avenue to the grounds that spread behind the firehouse.
Children, take note: Two "ride nights" are scheduled. On Tuesday and Thursday, for one price you can ride as often as you wish.
"Kid's Night" is Thursday. In addition to ride-one-price, the carnival will feature a performance by magician Tom Crowl.
There's a variety of nightly entertainment. Bluegrass musicians Jim and Jesse are featured Monday. The Last Roundup brings country melodies on Tuesday. Rhythm in Shoes, the Hampstead dance performance company, will perform Wednesday night.
With Big Wheelie and the White Walls you can revisit the sounds of the '50s and '60s on Friday. On Saturday, the Countrymen play country and Top 40 music.
The Carnival's "Giant Parade" steps off at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday from St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Majorette groups, small floats, civic groups and fire equipment from area companies will parade for three-quarters of a mile to the carnival grounds.
Because of the parade, on Wednesday evening only, a route will be posted from Route 30 to the carnival grounds.
Food platters, including chicken and ham, will be served nightly. You can chow down on hot dogs, sausage, pizza and more. Purchase a raffle ticket before Saturday, and you might be the winner of $2,000, $1,000 and $500.
Admission and parking are free. It all benefits the fire company.
North Carroll seniors are going west -- by traveling north. Their destination: Rocking Horse Ranch. It's a Western-style resort in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. They are going in September, when the foliage is colorful and the weather at its outdoor best. There is room for a few more seniors to join them.
"One of our members was up there and enjoyed it immensely. fTC That's why we're going," said Dorothy Houff, manager of the North Carroll Senior Center in Greenmount, who is planning the trip.
This ranch doesn't pretend to be the Wild West. "There's boating, all kinds of games, hayrides, dances. Just all kinds of sports, everything you can think of," says Mrs. Houff.
"They have very calm horses for the seniors," reports Mrs. Houff, so anyone can enjoy horseback riding and the sense of a Western-style cowboy adventure.
"They even have a statue of a horse," she says. "If someone is afraid of a real horse, they'll put you up on the statue and take your picture."
Ranch food is far more than beans and bacon. "The meals are said to be delicious," says Mrs. Houff.
September in the Catskills "will be a great time to go," she says. More than 30 have signed up already.
For the five-day, four-night adventure, the bus will leave Sept. 20 and return Sept. 24; the ride is estimated at 5 1/2 hours. Cost is $365 double occupancy. Call the center to register.
We, the parents, found out last. My son received an invitation. It read, "To Adam. Wedding is this Monday. See you thair."
Our Adam, age 6, was the intended groom. "Mom, I'm getting married," he said. "Can you bring cookies?"
Monday afternoon, Adam's dad gave him a necktie to wear over his red T-shirt. Barefoot, he ran to his wedding.
Bride-to-be Samantha Mertz, a 5-year-old in flower print dress and fancy shoes, waited on her family's deck.
It was an outdoor affair. Five of Adam's friends, all girls ages 5 to 11, had spent every summer day for weeks whispering and planning the myriad details. Invitations, tickets. The bridal bouquet from a Halloween costume. The rings from a birthday party. A pool party, perhaps. Lots of sweet snacks.
Monday the girls tied Christmas ribbon and petunias to the railing on the deck. Eight more kids showed up. Five of them were boys eager for cupcakes.
Bridesmaids Christine Mertz and Katherine Bandula led the procession. Alyssa Ray, flower girl, tossed petals from a swim mask.
Christina Bandula, age 11, wrote and performed the service. This was her first wedding. She's apparently an expert on what she calls "kid marriage." She said she thought it was supposed to last "through the childhood years." Or at least until Tuesday.
They exchanged rings. The happy couple, and everyone else, ran through the shower of rice. Samantha hopped on her pink tricycle, Adam jumped on behind her and they coasted to the end of the driveway.
"It was sort of a wedding," said Adam, "but really a party."