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Kids of all ages rope in fun at carnival

May 04, 2008|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN - The changing of seasons from winter to spring is subtle.

But one sure sign is the return of the carnival.

On an open field or parking lot, kiddie rides loom large, the air is heavy with the sweet smell of cotton candy and barkers encourage passers-by to "step right up and try your luck."

It's good old-fashioned family fun and Saturday, it came to the Village at Robinwood.

For the adventurous, there was a ride called "The Rock and Roll Tumbler." For the sports-minded, there was miniature golf, and basketball and hockey games. There were water games, a moon bounce, remote-controlled cars and pony rides.

And more than 1,000 people showed up to have fun.

For the fourth year, the Village at Robinwood hosted Carnival Day, a family-friendly event that was free and open to the public.

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"Some people might think it's kind of strange for a retirement center to put on an event for kids, but this is a way for us to give back to the community," said Pete McMillin, marketing manager at the Village at Robinwood/Ravenwood Lutheran Village.

"It's a chance to enjoy the day as a family," he said. "This is something families need - to have fun without spending a lot of money."

McMillin said the carnival is an $11,000 project "paid for by us and businesses in our community."

About 20 sponsors helped make this year's event possible, he said.

McMillin said the games and rides were staffed by staff members and volunteers, who look forward to the carnival as much as the public.

"It's just a fun day for everybody," he said.

Among those attending Saturday's carnival was Kim Fisher of Hagerstown, who brought her two children, Bailie, 4, and Nicholas, 1.

"There is a real sense of community here today," Fisher said. "We've seen so many people that we know. It really is a fun day."

"It's a wonderful event," said Fisher's mother, Sue Powers, of Hagerstown. "It's free, there are things the children can actually do and they get a prize, which is a big deal for them."

Powers said the family has been attending the carnival since its first year.

"We wouldn't miss it," she said.

Steve and Laurie Linnes of Hagerstown said they have been bringing their two children to the carnival for the past three years.

"There's something for everyone," Laurie Linnes said. "Our 5-year-old loves the water games, and our 8-year-old couldn't wait to get in line for the pony rides. My husband - he loves the food."

McMillin said the carnival also was special for the Village at Robinwood residents.

"They like to come out and watch the kids," he said. "It's an event that brings everybody together."

While a lot of work goes into making the carnival possible, McMillin said it's worth it.

"Each year, we get calls from people thanking us for holding the event," he said. "People really do appreciate it."

McMillin said a similar event will be held in the fall at Ravenwood Lutheran Village.

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