MY HUSBAND AND I affectionately refer to the Big Glen Burnie Carnival, which starts Friday, as the social event of the season. Apparently, plenty of others agree - including some from well beyond the 21060 and 21061 ZIP codes.
"The carnival brings back a lot of people who grew up here," said event Chairwoman Barbara Moeller, who has received phone calls from Glen Burnie transplants living as far away as Arizona.
She said the former residents had called to confirm this year's carnival dates. "There are people who plan their visits back home during the week of the carnival," she said.
This year's carnival - scheduled to run through Aug. 4 (except Sunday) - is expected to draw about 250,000 people. No matter which side of the booth people are standing on, the carnival is all about community.
The efforts of more than 1,000 volunteers ensure that the event is a local effort. And the Glen Burnie Improvement Association, which runs the carnival, keeps the proceeds from the event close to home.
Groups like the Harundale Youth Sports League, Scouting troops and schools received money from last year's carnival.
North Arundel Hospital, the North County Emergency Outreach Network and Hospice of the Chesapeake have also benefited.
The proceeds allow the improvement association to support other projects, such as the summer concert series at the Glen Burnie Town Center.
"It's great to see the response from the community," said Moeller, who has helped organize the annual carnival since 1987, and who serves as the improvement association's president. "That's what keeps me going."
Carnival hours are 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday, 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Aug. 2, 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Aug. 3 and 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Aug. 4. The carnival grounds are between Crain and Ritchie highways, adjacent to the Baltimore-Annapolis Trail Park.
"Ride-all-night" tickets, available Monday through Aug. 2, cost $12. Individual tickets cost $1. Rides for small children require one ticket; adult rides require two.
Old favorites, perhaps dating to the carnival's start in 1908, are the pony ride and the carousel, but not every ride is so tame.
Judging from the crowd usually surrounding it, the Zipper is one of the top choices for thrill-seekers.
Hungry carnivalgoers will not be disappointed. Selections include crab cakes, snow cones, cotton candy and pizza. Games for adults and children will round out the midway.
Admission and parking are free.
Swim club discount
Such a deal! Glen Burnie Park Swim Club is offering an end-of-season discounted swim membership for Aug. 1 through Sept. 3.
The cost for the full family membership is $150. Facilities at the club include a 25-meter four-lane pool with a diving well and wading pool. The grounds also feature a volleyball court, a covered pavilion with a large grill and a bathhouse with shower facilities.
The club is open from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The pool is on Everett Road, one block from Glen Burnie Park Elementary School.
Information: Sheila Arrildt, 410-969-5403.