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Smithsburg carnival breathes again after rain stops

June 30, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

SMITHSBURG

More than 8 inches of rain this week has put a damper on a local fire company's efforts to raise money for equipment and other expenses.

When the skies opened up Tuesday, the annual Smithsburg Firemen's Carnival for that evening was a total washout, said Phil Rohrer, president of the board of directors of the Smithsburg Community Volunteer Fire Co.

"That was the night of our biggest attraction, The Amazing Rhythm Aces," Rohrer said. The contract between the fire company and the Nashville group calls for full-price payment whether they perform or not, he said.

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Then on Wednesday night, the crowds showed up, the gates opened at 6 p.m. and the rain started almost immediately, Rohrer said.

"It stopped raining about 7 p.m., so we went on with the entertainment, but most of the people had gone home," he said.

Although the crowd was smaller, the rides were operating, food was served and some games were played.

Rohrer said the weather-related losses significantly will cut into the fire company's profit this year from the carnival, which is one of its biggest moneymakers.

"In a typical week of carnival, we usually would clear between $18,000 and $20,000," he said.

This year, Rohrer said he hopes the company will clear at least $10,000, and that's if the weather is good the rest of the week.

"Monday, we did OK even though the crowds were small because of the occasional rain," Rohrer said.

But Tuesday was a total loss. Rohrer said most of the fire company members were exhausted because of the many flooding calls they handled.

Checking weather maps has become a daily ritual for Rohrer.

Bob Plunkert is set to perform traditional country music today at 7 and 10 p.m. Also planned are fireworks at 9 p.m.

A parade begins Saturday at 5 p.m. Country music from ThunderHawk is scheduled for 7 and 10 p.m.

The Smithsburg Firemen's Carnival - which runs from 6 to 11:30 p.m. at the fire company's grounds at 32 Main St. - is a fundraiser for the Smithsburg Community Volunteer Fire Co.

Admission is free. Money raised from the carnival rides, games and food goes toward new equipment purchases.

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