The Big Glen Burnie Carnival, the best carnival in the county, began Friday for the 86th year and runs through this Saturday. If you haven't been there yet, make sure you pay a visit before the week is out. Summer wouldn't be summer without a ride on the ferris wheel and a healthy dose of cotton candy.
More than a kid's event, the Glen Burnie carnival is a community festival. It's a place to chat with neighbors you haven't seen in a while and a pleasant way to support the neighborhood. The money you spend on rides and games goes to benefit the Glen Burnie Improvement Association and will be used for sidewalk improvements, concerts and donations to the fire company and charitable groups. Carnival profits account for the lion's share of GBIA's budget, so an off-year like last year -- the carnival took in $30,000 less than the $125,000 it expected -- really hurts.
The carnival grounds are located on Crain Highway at B&A Boulevard, just behind the GBIA building. Admission and parking are free, and a $7 ticket lets you ride all night.
Make sure you spend a buck for a chance on a new Plymouth Neon. And treat yourself to some good carnival junk food. A hot dog goes for 50 cents, a small soda's a quarter and crab cakes are $1.25. You can't beat that.
TORNADO AFTERTHOUGHTS: Geography usually is on Maryland's side. We read about wildfires and earthquakes from a comfortable distance. Blizzards occur so rarely that, when they do, we simply hole up and shut down. Even hurricanes, the natural disaster most likely to hit, seldom cause more than rain.
Midwesterners no doubt would roll their eyes at us for being so panic-stricken by the twisters that ripped through the Chesapeake Bay region last week. Still, these were the strongest tornadoes most of us have ever seen; no one who found himself or herself in their path can be accused of overreacting and saying, "I feel glad to be alive."
That no one was hurt was partly a matter of luck. But it is mostly a tribute to the Weather Service's forecasting and people's willingness to heed warnings. For a state unused to dealing with natural disasters, we handled it pretty well.