National Guard drops in on John Carroll fair Events include music, dancing

May 02, 1993|By JoAnne C. Broadwater | JoAnne C. Broadwater,Contributing Writer

As their helicopter hovered over a playing field at the John Carroll School in Bel Air yesterday, two Maryland Army National Guardsmen climbed out of the aircraft and slid skillfully down 70 feet of rope to the ground.

This was a demonstration for spectators who had turned out to enjoy the second day of the John Carroll Country Fair, an annual tradition at the Catholic high school for more than 20 years.

Four National Guard units set up military equipment displays and did a little recruiting.

They brought along several helicopters, including a Huey, an OH-58 and a Cobra armed with dummy ammunition and rockets. The Huey was used for the rappelling, which is a way to lower troops into areas where a helicopter cannot land.

"I really liked that," said Justin Moss, 9. "The wind was blowing in my face, and the guys were coming down so fast. And I liked getting to look in the helicopters on the ground. I liked the Cobra best because it has all the guns. They shoot super fast."

That's just the kind of interest the Maryland Army National Guard hopes to attract.

"It's good recruiting," said Sgt. Patrick Hughes, a Baltimore longshoreman when he's not serving in the National Guard. "And it's great to let people know that the National Guard is an organization that supports the citizens of the state."

In addition to the National Guard demonstrations, other fair activities were spread across the grounds of the school. There was music and dancing as well as horse and wagon rides, pony rides and even short helicopter rides with a commercial pilot.

For thrill-seekers, there were amusement park rides like the scrambler and the Ferris wheel as well as carnival games for children and adults, raffles, used books, plant tables and sports tournaments.

Mary Ellen Malooly, who lives near the school, arrived at the fair early with her two boys, Ryan, 7, and Danny, 4.

"We just wanted to have a good time today," Mrs. Malooly said. "The weather's beautiful."

Several members of the nonprofit organization Greyhound Pets of America -- which publicizes the plight of retired racing dogs and encourages their adoption as pets -- set up an informal petting zoo, where children and their families could meet Esquire, Bandit, Cleopatra and Tiy.

And the "Celebrity Shower" -- which kindled much pre-fair excitement among the students at the school -- was touted as "the opportunity of a lifetime" to drench a teacher or coach by putting a hole in one or shooting a basket.

"I used to be principal here," said the Rev. Charles Riepe, who is now a Catholic chaplain at the Johns Hopkins University.

"They bamboozled me into coming back for this," he said with a smile, just as he took another soaking. "I don't know any of these peo ple, but I'm convinced that God will get them for it."

The three-day event, which started Friday evening and ends at 2 p.m. today, is a fund-raiser sponsored by the Home School Association, an organization of parent volunteers and consultants. A pancake breakfast will be served in the school cafeteria from 9 a.m. to noon today.

Bill Keetley graduated from John Carroll in 1985 and now manages the Tidewater Grille in Havre de Grace. As vice president of the alumni association, he managed the raffle for the fair.

"This is my way of giving something back to the school," Mr. Keetley said.

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