STEVENSVILLE When the 63rd annual Kent Island Volunteer Fireman's Carnival opens July 25 on the grounds at Kent Island High School, something will be missing. No matter what the posters say, there will be no parade this year, said Don Lewis, carnival committee chairman.
The fire department's general membership voted to cancel the parade due to dwindling crowds, but they made that decision after the posters were printed, he explained.
"The streets used to be packed for the parade," Lewis said. "It was a tradition. Everyone came. It was always done."
In the last several years, crowds have diminished and expenses grew, and it became harder to get other fire departments to participate, he said. So, this year, for the first time in recent memory, there will be no parade.
Instead, the carnival will kick off with firefighter competitions at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 25, with the midway, operated by Shaw & Sons, games opening on the south side of the school at 6, he said. Rides and games will set up in the bus parking area between the school building and the football field.
The carnival opens at 6 p.m. nightly through Saturday, July 31, and runs "until," Lewis said. ("Until" seems to be defined as when the firefighters and ride operators decide it's time to call it a night, usually sometime between 10 and 11:30 p.m.)
They hope to debut the KIVFD book, written by Brent Lewis, during carnival week, Lewis said.
The firefighters will sell pit ham, pit beef, Pepsi, lemonade and snowballs. Other refreshments will be sold by Shaw and Sons.
The KIVFD Ladies Auxiliary will run a flower wheel and a cake wheel and host bingo nightly under a tent. Cakes for the cake wheel are made fresh daily by auxiliary members.
The firefighters also will run a gold fish toss, gambling wheel and pot of gold games. There will be nightly ground prizes, Lewis said.
All the food and games under the white tents are run by the fire department and the proceeds directly benefit KIVFD, Lewis said.
The carnival fireworks are set for Friday, July 30, at dusk at Old Love Point Park.
"Every night is ride night; pay one price for unlimited rides," Lewis said. Advance tickets for ride bracelets are $15. Advance tickets are available at the Kent Island branches of Queenstown Bank, CNB and PNC Bank and at the fire house until July 25.
Ride bracelets will cost $20 at the carnival.
In addition to Lewis, the KIVFD carnival committee includes Grace Gardner and Paul Fuld. Matt Gellert is organizing the firefighter competition.