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First Harford Farm Fair carnival crowds held down by heat, storm threats

Breonna Herold, 16, left, and Jerosha Herold, 17, of Bel Air, ride the Orbiter at the carnival Wednesday.
Breonna Herold, 16, left, and Jerosha Herold, 17, of Bel Air, ride the Orbiter at the carnival Wednesday. (Nicole Munchel | Aegis staff, Patuxent Homestead)

The threat of thunderstorms not only delayed the Farm Fair carnival, it also held off the crowds on the second night of the event.

This marks the first year a carnival has been offered in conjunction with the Harford County Farm Fair and it is getting local residents excited.

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Although high temperatures kept the crowds at bay on the opening night Tuesday, the community has been "anxious" for the carnival and the Farm Fair has had a positive response, according to Skip Pieper, co-chair of the board of directors.

He added it was too early to tell if they would hold the fundraising event in the future, but they "think this will be something permanent."

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The carnival continues from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Harford County Equestrian Center at 608 N. Tollgate Road in Bel Air. Parking is free on the equestrian center grounds.

Attendees can buy a family pass for $20, as well as individual ride tickets. On Friday and Saturday, the carnival will also be accompanied by a beer barn with games and wheels for adults. The beer barn will sell beer and wine by the glass, and there well be games and prize wheels.

The 5 p.m. opening Wednesday was pushed to 6 because of potential severe storms Wednesday night and even then, attendance was light.

"Tonight, with the storms, I think it's really scared everyone away," Steven Nelson, also on the board of directors, said.

Despite the ominous clouds overhead, groups roamed the carnival, including Sydney and Charlotte Andrus, ages 14 and 15 respectively, who came out with their friend, 14-year-old Kiersten St. John.

The girls are local, from Bel Air and Abingdon, and were all excited about the carnival, with Sydney calling it a "mini state fair."

"I love it," she said. "I hope they have this every year."

Her sister, Charlotte, was equally happy with the carnival and added there is not usually a carnival so close to their Bel Air residence.

In addition to a variety of games and rides, for kids and adults, the carnival also had the Zipper ride, which Kiersten said was the girls' favorite ride.

Having just gotten off a kiddie ride, 2-year-old Brayden Evans was enjoying the carnival too, along with his mother, Amanda Evans, of Perry Hall.

Evans came up to Bel Air for the carnival with her father, Michael Moculski, who lives in the area, so Brayden could have fun.

"He loves carnivals," she said. "It's the kiddie rides. It's good for their age."

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She also praised the idea of a carnival, adding she thinks it was good to bring one back into the area and expected there to be a good turnout.

The rides also enticed sisters Jerosha Herold, 17, and Breonna Herold, 16, who moved to Bel Air from New York four years ago. The girls have been going to the Farm Fair ever since, but were excited about the addition of a carnival.

"I think it's good because you get to play games," Breonna said.

The carnival also offers more things for the girls to do, who both added that they came because they had nothing to do at home.

Much like other carnival-goers said, the sisters commented on the variety of rides.

"I like it because it has rides for everyone," Jerosha said.

As she was waiting for the rides to start shortly after 6 p.m., Debbie Sheckells, of Fallston, walked around the carnival grounds with her two children.

She was at the carnival so her daughter and son could have fun, Sheckells said, and said it was small, but not bad.

"I think the idea is really good because they don't have rides at the Farm Fair," she added.

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