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July 17, 2014

Cambridge Springs Fireman's Carnival organizers expect good turnout amid changes

CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS — While still widely regarded as one of the area’s biggest summertime events, the 62nd annual Cambridge Springs Fireman’s Carnival has shifted its schedule a bit from last year to try and retain its usual high attendance.

The Fireman’s Carnival, which serves as a fundraiser benefiting Cambridge Springs Volunteer Fire Department, was moved from July to early August last year as an attempt to avoid competition with other large county events.

Doing so has been a difficult feat, according to Donald Seher, event co-chair, who said this year’s carnival spans Wednesday to Saturday, July 30 to Aug. 2, about a week earlier than last year.

“There are so many races and carnivals going on; to try and set up a date that’s not conflicting with something else in the county is almost impossible,” Seher said.

The carnival’s 5k walk/run, traditionally scheduled as a morning event, was moved to the evening of July 31 because of a scheduling conflict over a piece of time-keeping equipment, Seher said.

Seher hopes the change will become something of a blessing in disguise, as Thursday is usually a slower day in terms of attendance.

He and co-chair Dick Massung also expect mechanical rides to be replaced by inflatable, child-friendly amusements provided by Jones Party Magic in Franklin.

Past supporters and attendees have applauded the carnival’s appeal to all ages as well as its opportunity for community members to reconnect.

Long-time volunteer Elvin “Sonny” Brown has seen the carnival well-attended just about each year.

“I get involved because I’ve been on the (fire) department for 50 years,” Brown said. “I enjoy doing it; as long as I’m able I’ll keep plugging away.”

One of Brown’s primary responsibilities is reaching out around the county for donations of homemade pies.

“We had over 208 pies donated last year, some years more,” Brown said. “It seems like we go through anywhere from 50 to 70 a night.”

In Brown’s experience, community members in and around the Cambridge Springs area have been relatively consistent in their support for the event every year.

“The community’s response is amazing,” Seher said. “They have a tendency to come out and really support us, which is good of them.”

With a positive weather outlook, Seher expects the carnival’s major draws to once again pack the streets with county residents looking to enjoy food, amusement rides, live music and other family-oriented activities.

Typical crowd favorites include the Grand Parade, which has featured a variety of floats, fire departments, pageant queens and marching bands; and the Timeless Tootsies, a pageant show comprised of Cambridge Springs-area women age 60 and older.

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