Elkridge Carnival preparations almost finished


ON THURSDAY, community leaders met to prepare for the Elkridge Carnival.

The carnival will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. tomorrow through Friday and after the traditional parade Saturday.

A riding mower, a Bobcat, two pickup trucks and several weed trimmers were brought to the meeting.

Business owner Bobby Boardman drove the Bobcat.

Tony Oreto, manager of Boardman's Water Works Car Wash, flew across the carnival site in high gear on a riding mower.

Carnival Chairman Craig Albright sent his son, Shane, to the meeting.

Two of Shane's friends, James Ballentine and Justin Sporer -- both students at Howard High School -- came along for company so Shane wouldn't have to suffer alone, James said. Shane was stung by bees while cutting weeds and did not want to continue.

But Andy Runfeld told him, "Forty years from now, when you walk past this site, you'll have happy memories. You'll say, 'This is the place where I pulled weeds for the carnival.' "

Perhaps he will indeed say that.

That is what happens in Elkridge, a community where many have lived their whole lives, and many others plan to do so. Elkridge residents work together in the PTA, in the Scout program, in their churches or for groups such as the Elkridge Youth Organization, the Elkridge Adult Athletic Association, the Rotary, the Jaycees or the Kiwanis.

The community's involvement is awesome. Elkridge residents contribute at least 50,000 hours of volunteer service to their community each year.

The Elkridge Kiwanis runs a food pantry and distributes 800 pounds of food every two weeks.

Elkridge Teen Center has held monthly dances for middle school students for eight years. Volunteers chaperon the dances while others make pizza, cook "chicken tenders" and french fries, to be sold to teens for 50 cents a serving.

Cub Scout Pack 432 includes five dens with a total of 46 Cub Scouts. The pack organizes a Pinewood Derby, a Klondike Derby, the Blue and Gold Banquet, caroling at the senior center, a fishing derby and a "rain-gutter regatta" -- in which plastic foam boats are sailed in a rain gutter propped on sawhorses.

The Elkridge Youth Organization, established in the 1950s, organizes softball, basketball, baseball and soccer leagues. More than 1,200 youths and 200 coaches participate in the baseball season.

Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department is raising money to pay a loan on a rescue squad vehicle, which contains as part of its equipment the Jaws of Life.

The department holds bingo games Friday nights and pancake breakfasts Sundays.

The Elkridge Carnival has its roots in our neighborhood's active communal life. Nineteen years ago, Gina Hrybyk -- an Elkridge native and owner of Flowers by Gina -- organized a block party on Main Street. After nine years, the party outgrew Main Street and became the carnival.

That's when organizers moved the event to the site of the Elkridge drive-in theater, which closed in 1973.

The projection booth was dismantled four years ago and small trees grow in cracks in the asphalt. To prepare the site for the carnival, rocks must be cleared, debris removed and the grass mowed.

The tiered parking area of the old drive-in still exists -- with only minor dips and potholes. The amphitheater rimmed by a forest buffer in the center of Elkridge on U.S. 1 is perfect for the carnival -- once it has been tidied.

Older residents remember the glory days of the drive-in.

Bobby Boardman tells of sneaking two extra friends in the trunk of a 1964 Ford Mustang. Ginny Stickles describes squeezing 11 people into a Corvair on a night when admission was $3 a carload.

Younger residents take for granted the weeklong carnival with rides and booths from local community groups.

This year, advance tickets will be on sale. For $7, one can ride the rides all night long.

Greater Elkridge Community Association will run a Big 6 wheel. Elkridge Athletic Association will sell T-shirts.

The women of Melville Methodist Church run a duck-pond game for children in which everybody wins.

Local businesses and political parties will be represented.

Elkridge Heritage Society sells decorative plates, books, grab bags for children and hot dogs. Elkridge Kiwanis sells snowballs, and takes orders for afghans depicting Elkridge historical sites.

Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department sells burgers and fries, and the Elkridge Jaycees are considering selling funnel cakes.

In other years, they have run a game that is rather like playing one hole of miniature golf.

The Elkridge Quilters are raffling a quilt to raise money for the food pantry.

Then there is the parade.

Sponsored by Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department, the parade starts at 3 p.m. Saturday at Boardman's Water Works Car Wash on Old Washington Road.

The route -- similar to the one used to open the Elkridge Youth Organization season about 40 years ago -- runs the length of Old Washington Road to Toomey's Hardware.

This year, Elkridge native Dave Grabowski has been chosen as grand marshal.

Grabowski co-founded Elkridge Adult Athletic Association 20 years ago and is still a member.

He has coached baseball for the Elkridge Youth Organization, served as the Rockburn Easter bunny for 15 years and managed the Rockburn Haunted House at Halloween.

A rich fabric of community reaches from neighbor to neighbor and back in time in Elkridge.

This reporter remembers working the Big 6 Wheel with Leon Croft, a local plumber with a dry sense of humor. Croft's son, Ed Croft, drew the sketches of Elkridge historical sites that are on the decorative plates sold by Elkridge Heritage Society. They are enlarged as murals in the local McDonald's.

The image of Cordelia Hanson -- a vocal advocate for Elkridge -- smiling and relaxed at the carnival with her son, Walter, and his two children also comes to mind.

Elkridge neighbors remember who made the booths and where they have been stored. They remember last-minute repairs to the stands when a thunderstorm closed the carnival during one oppressively hot week.

And the night that violence erupted, to the consternation of local leaders.

Shane Albright has come to the carnival every year. Each year, he says, he likes something different.

His friend, James Ballentine, says he likes "the girls the best."

Join them for an old-fashioned community carnival.


Elkridge High School Class of '49 is planning its 50th reunion.

If you are a graduate of that class, call Charlotte Clokey Watts at 301-725-6126, Janet Merson Oursler at 410-796-0257, or Anna Jane Redmond Leishear at 301-725-1823 to help plan the event or locate classmates.

Pub Date: 6/22/98

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