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Fire department carnival canceled

June 17, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- The Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department will lose one of its top revenue sources in 2009 when the carnival does not come to town.

For 30 years, the volunteer fire company has hosted the carnival as one of its major fundraising endeavors, but a forced change of venue and a lack of rides have canceled this year's event, Carnival Committee Chairman Steve Biesecker said.

"There will be a hole in this year where the carnival was, but next year, we hope to be up and running," he said.

Many factors led Biesecker and his committee to cancel the carnival, which got its start in the early 1970s, he said.

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Last year, the Borough of Waynesboro renovated the Rotary parking lot, the slab of blacktop that has been home to the carnival for years. To protect its investment, the borough announced the carnival could not be held on the lot this year, Biesecker said.

"We were told we couldn't use the Rotary lot, so we found another venue," Biesecker said.

The Quincy Ox Roast Association made its land along Anthony Highway available for the carnival on its usual first week in August, he said.

Biesecker said Pennwood Amusements, the vendor who in the past has supplied the rides, backed out, saying it had found a more profitable gig the same week.

With not enough time to find another ride vendor and no other week suitable for the carnival, Biesecker said he was forced to cancel.

Local carnivals have been declining in popularity, Biesecker said.

Pat Fleagle, administrator for the Blue Ridge Fire and Rescue Squad, said his company decided not to host a carnival in 2009.

"Carnivals don't bring in the money they used to," Fleagle said. "In a two-day barbecue, we made half of what we did in last year's carnival."

While Blue Ridge Fire and Rescue has pulled the plug on its carnival, Biesecker said he is hoping the carnival will return to Waynesboro next year.

"We will just have to raise the money some other way this year," he said. "This might cut our revenue by a good $15,000, but we will not stop doing what we do."

The annual carnival and the letter drive are the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department's top sources of revenue.

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