One of the area’s most popular traditions returned earlier this month with the annual Pawling Fire Department Carnival and Parade. From Wednesday, August 2, through Saturday, August 5, the end of Charles Coleman Blvd was transformed into the village’s yearly festival of rides, food, and fun. Though the opening night was somewhat hampered by rainy weather, the carnival ultimately saw crowds come out in force to join in the fun – and contribute to an essential service that has been protecting lives and property in Pawling for more than a century.
This year’s event featured several changes to the usual format of the carnival. The all-volunteer Pawling Fire Department (PFD) partnered with a new amusement company, All Star Midway, to present new and updated rides including a miniature roller coaster, a children’s fun house, and a traditional carousel. Organizers opted not to feature gambling wheels this year, but still offered a variety of arcade games for attendees to test their skills and win prizes as well as a bingo contest. And of course, no carnival would be complete without a full selection of food prepared by PFD volunteers. Officials are proud to not increase food prices each year in an effort to keep the fete affordable and promote a family friendly environment.
The carnival also presented several special attractions, including an impressive Fire Department Parade through the village on Friday night that included fifteen different fire companies marching to represent their respective municipalities. The four-day event concluded with a fireworks display and live music by the cover band Stixx and Stonz. “We had a very successful carnival this year,” said PFD Chief Everett White. “The parade and everything were well received by the public. Everyone was very happy.”
While the Pawling Fire District receives town funds to cover some of the cost of the operation of their two fire stations, the Pawling Fire Department, itself, is funded strictly by donations and fundraisers. During the year, the two largest fundraisers are the annual Game Dinner, hosted the night before the NFL Super Bowl championship football game and the summer carnival. PFD officials estimate that this year’s August festival will surpass last year in terms of funds raised. Already looking ahead to next year, organizers are planning to continue the relationship with All Star Midway to bring in even more rides and attractions next summer. Plans also include the possibility of featuring more live music.
The PFD Carnival serves as not only a fundraiser for the department’s invaluable services, but also as a showcase of town pride. Countless local merchants contributed to this year’s carnival, donating funds, supplies, and more to make the annual celebration a success. “This really brings the community together,” said Chief White. “Everyone is more than willing to help out when the carnival comes around; they all want to donate and be a part of it.”