The thrill of winning drives carnival crowd Prizes included toys plants and hams GLEN BURNIE

August 04, 1993|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

At the Koke Pitch, where the idea is to land a ring on the neck of any of the mostly ginger ale bottles, Michael and Tina Ford forked over between $50 and $70 until Sarah, 6, succeeded.

The prize, a stuffed gray elephant, stood hip-high on the child, who announced that her father would carry it. Her mother was already toting two plastic leis, two pinwheels, one stuffed Dalmatian, two paper yo-yos and a plastic bag containing one live goldfish -- the loot from other game booths.

They had been at the Big Glen Burnie Carnival only an hour.

The carnival, a summertime tradition since 1908, opened Friday night and runs through Saturday evening.

Proceeds -- last year the fair netted $124,691 -- benefit the Glen Burnie Improvement Association and its civic activities.

"Where else can you go and spend so much money in a short period of time and have so much fun?" asked Mr. Ford, an Annapolis resident who planned to leave at least $200 at the carnival Monday night.

In the interest of family harmony, Mr. Ford handed a $5 bill to his son Brandon, 5, who expected to stay until he, too, won a mammoth stuffed toy. He did: $80 later, Brandon bagged an elephant, and the family made its way through the crowds to the food stands, then pony rides.

"I guess it's the thrill of winning," carnival co-chairwoman Cindy Rios later explained.

There was no shortage of winners and no shortage of thrill-seekers Monday night -- and Monday tends to have the lightest crowd -- as smiling carnival-goers won 3-pound hams, hanging plants and white plastic inflatable bats.

People stood three-deep at the wildly popular baseball booth, hoping the wheel of fortune would stop at their number and land them an Oriole plaque.

They filled out endless raffle tickets for a new car, and took their best shot to break plates.

About the only place there wasn't a line was at Cheryl's Chalets, the portable toilets.

There seemed to be as many Barneys as people. The TV-star dinosaur, in a multitude of sizes, was the prize offering at many of the 46 booths. And one water game was changed this year to feature purple dinosaurs instead of teddy bears ascending a string to the tune of "Surfin' U.S.A."

The scarier the Shaw & Sons midway ride, the longer the line. Larry White, 13, of Brooklyn stumbled off Round Up -- in which standing riders are caged and tilted as they spin -- wearing a huge grin.

"Great. I thought I was going to throw up," he said, then headed for the Zipper, an even scarier ride.

Other teen-agers, such as Crystal Loyd, 14, of Brooklyn Park went to the carnival mostly because it was something different than going to the mall.

"I just came to hang out, I guess," she said. She was there with about seven friends.

In the kiddie section, Kelley Riley, 2, wanted another ride on the Ferris wheel, another drink, a pony ride and more prizes.

Her mother, Margaret, a 24-year-old Glen Burnie native, noted that the child had been at the carnival every night it was open and probably would attend two more nights. "Now I know how my mother felt," Mrs. Riley said.

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