A Special Day At The Carnival

August 03, 1994|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Sun Staff Writer

Eight-year-old Taylor Muhly leaned against his mother for support yesterday as the two spun around and around and around at the Big Glen Burnie Carnival.

"I was scared," Taylor whispered to a friend, before nodding to his mother as they got off the Cobra ride.

Taylor has spina bifida. He was born with an open spine, is paralyzed from the chest down and wears leg braces.

He and dozens of other disabled children and adults and their families were guests of the Glen Burnie Improvement Association, which for the fourth year opened the carnival grounds exclusively to them for two hours.

It is a gesture the parents said they appreciated.

"The kids don't always get opportunities to do things. I think its great," said Taylor's mother, who lives in Millersville.

Other parents said they enjoyed the time during the day because it was less crowded than nighttime carnivals.

"If they went to the regular one, they'd probably get run over," said Eloise Anacki, who brought her daughter, Anita Anacki, 37, to the carnival.

Mrs. Anacki said her daughter is mentally retarded and has cerebral palsy.

Yesterday, she pitched penny after penny, determined to land one in her target -- a white plate floating in the water. But the coins bounced on the floor. Finally one made the mark. Kind of.

"It landed in, but it jumped out," said Ms. Anacki's mother. "I think it has legs."

No matter. Her daughter won an orange lei for effort.

"I think it means everything to them, and a lot of them can remember from year to year. It's the highlight of their life," said Mrs. Anacki's friend, Ginger Kelley, who brought her nephew, Richard Waddell, 30, to the carnival.

Mr. Waddell has Down syndrome and a bad heart and relies on an oxygen tank during his short stays outside, his aunt said.

"His whole world is TV," she said. "He doesn't like to go outside or anything and he's not into VCRs. But when I asked him 'Would you like to go to the carnival?' his face lit up like a million dollars."

His aunt and Anita Anacki took to the air in the Ferris wheel. But staying at ground level suited him fine, said Mr. Waddell, as he sat in his wheelchair, firing off greetings to acquaintances passing by.

"I don't want to ride," he said. "I just want to sit and enjoy the peace and quiet."

Occasionally, when the Ferris wheel carrying his aunt spun by, he extended his hand in the air and flashed the sign language for "I love you."

He, like others at the carnival, sported a souvenir picture button snapped by professional photographer Gary Wheeler, who shot 380 buttons in two hours.

"Sometimes you get so busy you don't think about getting tired until you stop," said Mr. Wheeler, who lives in Ferndale. "The two hours tends to go by so quickly you don't have time to do anything but reload and shoot."

It is effort and time well spent, said carnival workers.

"It really was a good day and [there were] a lot of happy faces," said Richard Wengert, president of the improvement association, as he watched the carnival grounds clear.

And just in case any one didn't receive a prize at one of the game booths, carnival workers handed out stuffed bears, penguins, sharks, dogs, pigs and clowns as people headed back to their cars.

The 86-year-old carnival runs through Saturday and regularly opens at 7 p.m. on weekdays and at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

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