Panel Hears Pleas To Allow Sunday Carnival Operations

March 31, 1992|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff writer

The county Amusement License Commission yesterday was told it shouldallow carnivals to operate on Sundays -- roughly six weeks after County Executive Robert R. Neall vetoed a measure that would have made such operations legal.

Gary DeGrafft, a former president of the Chelsea Beach Improvement Association, said that Sunday carnivals would help organizations like his to raise sufficient money to pay for suchprojects as improvements to neighborhood playgrounds and ball fields.

DeGrafft said that the group must split its receipts with carnival ride operators. After it pays expenses out of its 25 percent share of the take, there is not much left, he said.

He gave the commission a prepared statement saying that last summer's 10-day carnival along Mountain Road grossed $15,000, but that the group netted only $1,200 from its share of the receipts, after paying expenses.

"As it stands now, if we get rained out on a Friday or a Saturday, it can be a major catastrophe," DeGrafft told the commission.

The commissionwas appointed by Neall Feb. 28 to look for ways to fine tune county codes regarding bingo halls, carnivals and bazaars.

Clifton Taylor, who helps run Taylor and Sons Amusements, an Annapolis-based carnival operator, told the commission that he also favors legalizing Sunday events.

"It would be nice, due to the fact that most of the working people out there do work on Saturdays now," he said.

He added that if Sunday carnivals were made legal, his company would likely work the same way it does in other counties -- delaying start-up of Sunday rides until 2 p.m.

Muriel Carter, president of the Glen BurnieImprovement Association, told the commission yesterday that she had no opinion on whether carnivals should be permitted on Sundays.

The group, which has been running one of the county's biggest carnivalssince 1908, would probably not operate on Sundays even if the countypassed a law allowing it, she said.

"I'm not really against it, but personally I don't think our organization has any need for it," she said.

The County Council passed the measure, 7-0, in January legalizing Sunday carnivals.

But the measure was vetoed Feb. 14 by Neall, who said he wanted to wait for recommendations from the fledgling Amusement License Commission.

The bill's sponsor, Councilman Edward C. Middlebrooks, tried to convince the council to override Neall's veto, but the bid failed Feb. 19 when council members George Bachman, Diane Evans and Carl Holland voted "present" instead of "aye" to override the veto.

A veto override requires five votes on the seven-member council.

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