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Popular Arbutus carnival cut short by stormy weather

Saturday's rain and thunderstorms forced officials to cancel the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department carnival's last day, cutting short the organization's biggest fundraiser of the year.

After an "exceptionally hot" week that saw a dip in attendance after the heat index surpassed 100 degrees, Chairman Glen Peacock said the carnival committee decided an hour before festivities kicked off to pack up the stands and rides, which were not safe to operate in the rain.

Although entry is free and there's no way to track attendance, temperatures in the high 90s all week meant crowds were visibly lower and the department anticipates a drop in earnings, Peacock said.

The department will have to offset the losses by hoping its smaller fundraisers — Food Truck Wednesdays and a holiday train garden, among others — are more successful.

"When one does bad,hopefully we have a couple others that do well," Peacock said. "That's all we can hope for."

While shutting down because of inclement weather isn't out of the ordinary, the department hoped not to lose a Friday or Saturday because those are "bigger money-makers," he said.

The carnival typically brings in $30,000 every year, which the department uses for its general expenses, such as equipment and remodeling. Despite the economic blow, the department will still make money from the event, and might have an extra fundraiser to make up for the decline.

Shaw and Sons Amusement stayed at the carnival grounds well beyond midnight packing up about 16 rides, as the company had to set up for another carnival at 6 p.m. Sunday on Kent Island.

The Arbutuscarnival ran from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. for aweek, and had more uniformed police officers on hand after a fight between two teenage girls last year threatened to derail the festivities. There were no safety incidents this year, Peacock said, and the department will continue providing heightened security in the future.

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