The annual Sharptown Firemen’s Carnival, a heritage of foods and rides dating back to 1926, opens July 31.
Known for fresh oyster fritters fashioned from a recipe handed down through the generations, the festival will continue until Aug. 23.
It’ll be open Monday to Saturday at 7 p.m. until around 10 weeknights and until 11 and on Saturdays.
“Of course that depends on the weather and the crowd,” said a convivial Lester Huss, president of the volunteer fire department that benefits from the proceeds.
He wouldn’t disclose how much money the festival generates, but said it’s used to pay the bills at the fire house and that all the tax money goes into rolling stock.
“Not a lot of fire companies can say that,” he said.
Being at the festival is an enjoyable way to spend an evening, Huss said.
“Well, besides making new friends and seeing old friends it is a lot less expensive entertainment than some of the other resort areas,” he said.
For $10, guests can ride all night on Mondays. The cost is $12 Tuesday to Saturday.
The oyster fritters, mixed and fried by members of the ladies’ auxiliary, “seem to be the biggest attraction,” he said.
“They are definitely filling. My doctor doesn’t always like for me to eat them but I do. I put a little bit of ketchup on it. There is very simple seasoning but it’s done well,” he said.
Regular carnival fare also includes hot dogs, crab cakes, crab balls, pizza, wing dings, clams, French fries, cotton candy, candied apples, peanuts roasted on site, pretzels and funnel cakes.
There will be chances for a $15,000 cash prize, entertainment and, of course, rides at the carnival grounds on Main Street.
Among them are the Tornado, merry-go-round, Tilt-a-Wheel and seven or eight children’s rides.
Chrys Gosnell, president of the ladies’ auxiliary, has pleasant childhood memories of going to the festival.
“Some of those rides out there are the original rides. The lumpy worm caterpillar thing goes around and bumps. I rode it when I was little and my son rode it,” she said.
“It’s a clean carnival and it’s a lot of fun. The games, the food, the oysters,” she said.
Since the festival began 88 years ago, it has continued annually except for one year during World War II. Huss said he isn’t sure why. Maybe the resources weren’t available.
But it will certainly be open this year.
“A lot of people know each other,” Gosnell said.
“People just come out. It’s the tradition.”
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