Donald and I decided to attend the opening night of the Gettysburg Fireman’s Carnival last night to check things out, perhaps indulge in some unhealthy carnival food, and hop on a few rides. I haven’t been to a carnival since probably middle school or early highschool (so mid to late 90’s), and I had fond memories of carnival pizza, game prizes, and a myriad of rides.
I do want to preface this by saying that I always support our local firemen. I don’t always donate to them, but I will when I can or think to. So I support the idea of the carnival to help raise funds for them. But I think next year I will just give a direct donation as I was not all that impressed with the carnival. I know that any complaint I have about the carnival is of no fault of the local fire department. Now, that said.
I acknowledge that public venues like this always attract the hang-out crowd of teenagers. In my days it was (then) Cranberry Mall in Westminster, Hampstead McDonalds, and of course Carroll County carnivals all over. It’s a time for teenagers to interact with each other outside of school and perform ritualistic flirtation and make a show of things. I don’t recall them being so scantily dressed though.
Beyond the expected plethora of youngins, I enjoyed the rides that Donald and I hopped on. There weren’t quite as many as I would have expected, I think 3 of them interested me at all, and with a “Pay $20 per person to ride all night”, I kind of expected more rides. The tickets cost $1 per ticket, and most rides cost 4 or 5 tickets, so the ride all night is definitely the way to go. Just make sure you get your moneys worth. $5/ride just seems ludicrous to me.
The pizza and soft serve icecream, for some reason not nearly as tasty as I remember. I think it’s mostly due to Donald and I eating healthy over the last 6 months, cooking grass-fed meats, eating fresh fruits and veggies, cutting out most if not all grains from our diet and reducing our sugar intake. But I just felt like I was eating cardboard and chemicals. Not nearly as charming as I remembered it to be as a child. We could definitely tell the difference in our bodies as well, we both felt ill and our bodies were not happy with us. No more carnival food for us.
Donald was insistent on winning me a prize at one of the games for our first carnival together, so he won me a stuffed Papa Smurf. This cost approximately $15 for a cheaply made stuffed doll from China that probably cost 20 cents to make. We looked through all of the games and very few had anything but these cheaply made stuffed critters. Of course there was a gold fish vendor and a carnival glass vendor, but even the carnival glass is not what it used to be, and we all know the gold fish do not last.
The $70 I spent last night on the carnival could have certainly been better used to support the fire department directly, or my weekly visit to the farmers market to support local farmers. But I look at this as an experience and an experiment, both with telling results.
The two salvaging portions of the evening were watching a little girl smiling gleefully at me during one of the rides, and the music concert by the stage which some talented folky music being played. Donald thinks I should try to get up on that stage this week, which I’d be happy to do and bring my guitar.
Needless to say, aside from listening to the music on stage, there’s really no reason for us to go back. I’d rather put our money to better use with direct support. I will say though, the carnival draws a large crowd, and with $3 ATM fees and $5/ride or $2/slice of pizza, I know the fire department made some GOOD money last night, and will continue to do so throughout the week. So kudos to them for a successful event 🙂