'IT'S A FAMILY THING'

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Four generations of Candus J. Morrison's family have served ice cream and soft drinks, dodged coins at the glass-pitch stand and crawled on the ground to pick up rings at the cane-pitch stand as volunteers at the Big Glen Burnie Carnival.

They've kept track of the books and supplies, polished brass and helped unload trucks. They've taken vacation from their regular jobs to work as many hours, if not more, at the carnival. And starting Friday, they'll do it all over again.

"It's a lot of work and frustrating sometimes. But I can't wait for the carnival to come every year," said Mrs. Morrison. "It's a family thing."

Mrs. Morrison's grandfather, Frederick W. Gruhn, started the family thing in the 1940s, operating an ice cream stand at the carnival with his wife and three daughters for several years.

One of those daughters, Muriel, married Richard H. Carter, a fellow from the neighborhood who also worked at a variety of jobs at the carnival as he was growing up.

"We were just both involved from the time we were kids, and the kids got involved in the same way," recalled Mrs. Carter, whose son William occasionally helps her in the information booth.

But it is her daughter, Candus, who has followed most strongly in her parents' footsteps. She was initiated into the world of carnival volunteering by working at a neighbor's cane-pitch stand when she was 8.

"I would crawl around on the ground and get the rings and pick them up," said Mrs. Morrison, who is now 44.

As she grew up, Mrs. Morrison poured sodas at the soft drink stand and worked the glass-pitch stand, dodging coins as carnival-goers tossed them in the air in hopes of landing one on a plate to win a prize.

When she was in her late 20s, she started helping her father, then assistant treasurer and later treasurer of the carnival until his death in 1990. Now, Mrs. Morrison holds that post.

It is up to her to keep track of receipts, make sure booth attendants are well supplied with change and count the take each night.

Now, Mrs. Morrison's 12-year-old son, Walter V. Morrison III, is picking up on the tradition, she said.

He helps his mother hunt for loose change or bills in the money bags after they've been emptied, and he tags along with his grandmother to help answer phones or runs errands.

"I think he's got the bug," she said.

The carnival, a summertime tradition in Glen Burnie since 1908, opens at 7 p.m. Friday and runs through Aug. 5 (except Sunday) on the grounds of the Glen Burnie Improvement Association at Crain Highway and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.

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