By Darrell Mak
Winter’s doldrums will come to a screeching halt as the Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company’s highly anticipated annual carnival starts April 18 on the Brumwell’s Flea Market grounds off Mountain Road. A Pasadena community staple for the past 19 years, this year’s event commemorates the fire company’s 75th anniversary with a wide array of rides, games, food and fun.
“Nothing’s changed from last year,” said Roger Gordon, assistant fire chief and carnival co-chair, who noted the annual event typically attracts thousands of visitors. “Carnivals are our major fundraiser. We rely on them heavily. We still are a volunteer company and have operating costs, and our carnival and bingo events supplement those costs.”
Proceeds from the carnival will also help fund new firefighting equipment for the community.
“We just purchased a new rescue engine,” said Jerry White, president of the fire company and carnival co-chair. “We were hoping to have it on display at the carnival, but it’s not built yet. It’ll be delivered toward the end of April or early May.”
Although White said he didn’t have any particular fundraising goal in mind, “I’d like to do very well at the carnival,” he said. “It is a major fundraiser.”
The carnival boasts an assortment of carnival-style fare, including pit beef, hamburgers, hot dogs, cotton candy, funnel cake and pizza. Most of it, including the baked beans and coleslaw, is homemade. This year, volunteers will also serve a special fish dinner on Good Friday, April 19.
The work to prepare for the carnival usually starts in December and lasts through May. Organizers must obtain permits and licensing and contract the rides to Shaw Amusements. During the event, fire company volunteers help with the food tent, games, candy wheel and beer tent. Once again, beer servers will be TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS) certified and will have taken specialized training on responsible alcohol serving practices and preventing illegal alcohol sales.
Although there is no charge to enter the carnival grounds, rides, food and games will be sold separately. Like last year, attendees can save by purchasing a ride wristband in advance. The wristbands are good for a full evening of unlimited rides for any carnival day. Advance wristbands can be purchased for $17 each by contacting Roger Gordon at 443-851-5015 or Donna Odendhal at 443-572-1588. Wristbands purchased at the carnival will be $26.
Organizing a major event such as the annual carnival takes tremendous resources, and Gordon said the fire company is always looking for more volunteers to help.
“We would love to have more people come up and join the fire company and have more people say they want to help,” Gordon stressed. “You don’t need to ride the equipment to volunteer; you can join the fire company auxiliary to volunteer and help the community.”
More information on becoming a volunteer member can be found on the fire company’s Facebook page at “Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company.”