At the end of July 1945, U.S. bombers were dropping tons of explosives on Guam, the Japanese were pouring reinforcements into Bougainville and Shaw & Sons Amusements set up rides for the first time at the Big Glen Burnie Carnival.
This year, the nation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, and next week Shaw & Sons will celebrate its 50th year of providing rides for the carnival.
Working with the family business has "just been a very comfortable feeling," said Muriel G. Carter, the Glen Burnie Improvement Association's assistant chairwoman for the carnival.
"We knew the people weren't doing shoddy work with their equipment," she said
Crews from Shaw & Sons are expected to start bringing the rides to the carnival grounds at the beginning of next week, she said, and spend the week "painting the rides and cleaning them to make sure everything is in tip-top shape."
The association will give company officials a plaque commemorating the anniversary when the carnival opens next Friday at 7 p.m.
Ralph E. Shaw, whose father Leroy Robert Shaw ran the company before him, said his carnival crew looks forward to the Glen Burnie trip every year.
"The Glen Burnie carnival is my favorite carnival. The people are so nice, and it's a family atmosphere," he said. "There's never any hassle at the Glen Burnie carnival. People come to have a good time and that's what they do."
In addition to honoring Mr. Shaw's amusement company, carnival organizers plan to honor World War II veterans on July 31 by cutting the price of a hot dog to 25 cents and decorating the carnival grounds with World War II posters and red, white and blue banners.
The carnival, a summertime tradition since 1908, runs from July 28 to Aug. 5 on the association grounds on Crain Highway at Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.
Carnival organizers expect about 250,000 people to attend during the eight-day run. Admission and parking are free.
The carnival will have more than 20 rides, games and food. The food is relatively cheap --. a hot dog costs 75 cents and a soda is 25 cents.
For $8 a night, carnival goers can board rides all night on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday through Saturday, each ride will cost $1. The carnival is open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, it will operate from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. But just as it was in 1908, the carnival is closed Sunday.
Profits from the carnival make up about 70 percent of the improvement association's budget, supporting its civic activities and donations to other groups.
For the past two years, profits have dropped off because rainy weather kept away the usual weekend crowds.