The smell of hot dogs and french fries, the bright lights of the Ferris wheel, the laughter of children winning a game, and the blare of live country, bluegrass and rock 'n' roll bands will fill the air tomorrow as the county's volunteer firefighters open their annual summer carnival season.
Eleven of the county's 14 volunteer fire companies hold weeklong carnivals that serve as fund-raisers to buy new equipment, such as ambulances and fire engines, or to construct building additions.
All carnivals run Monday to Saturday and are open about 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Friday, and until midnight Saturday. Raffles for cash and other prizes are also held, with the grand-prize drawings Saturday.
Union Bridge and Gamber open the season tomorrow.
The Union Bridge carnival opens with a Memorial Day observance held by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8806 at 6 p.m. tomorrow. The post is off West Locust Street across from the firehouse and carnival grounds.
The entertainment lineup includes Iron Ridge tomorrow, Roll the Dice on Tuesday, a firemen's parade at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Riding High on Thursday, No Alibi on Friday and Bob Plunkert & Real Country on Saturday.
Ride night specials will be held Tuesday and Thursday. Lunches are served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and dinner platters from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Rides and games open at 7 p.m. daily.
Gamber, on Route 32 and Niner Road, starts the holiday with fireworks, weather permitting, tomorrow night. Rides, games and food booths are open from 6 p.m. to midnight daily. Ride nights are Tuesday and Thursday.
Live music will be performed by the Esquires tomorrow, No Alibi on Tuesday, Glenn & the Gemtones on Wednesday, the Possum Holler Band and Toria Anderson from 104.7 WAYZ-FM on Thursday, Pikesville Rye on Friday and Poison Whiskey on Saturday.
Other carnivals include:
June 6 to 11: New Windsor, Atlee Avenue. Lunches are served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and dinner platters at 4:30 p.m. Rides and games open at 6 p.m. daily, and a parade is at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Information: 410-635-6373, or carnival grounds, 410-635-2137.
June 13 to 18: Taneytown, Memorial Park, Route 140. Lunches are served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. weekdays and dinner platters are served at 4 p.m. Games and rides open at 7 p.m., and a parade is at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Information: 410-756-6253.
June 20 to 25: Harney, 5130 Harney Road. Dinner platters are served 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Rides and games open at 7 p.m. Information: 410-756-6464.
June 20 to 25: Sykesville, Route 32 and Freedom Avenue. Dinners are served at 6 p.m. Games and rides open at 7 p.m. Information: 410-795- 8021.
July 4 to 9: Manchester, York Street carnival grounds. Dinners are served at 4:30 p.m. and the Fire Department food stands open by 6 p.m. Rides and games open at 7 p.m., a fire prevention queen contest is Tuesday, and a parade is at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Information: 410-239-2286.
July 11 to 16: Winfield, 1320 W. Old Liberty Road. Dinners are served from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Rides and games open at 7 p.m., a fire prevention queen contest is Monday, a parade is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and fireworks are Friday night. Information: 410-795-1333.
July 18 to 23: Reese, Route 140. Rides and games open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays, and until midnight Saturday. A children's matinee is held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Information: 410-848- 7172.
July 25 to 30: Mount Airy, Route 27 and Twin Arch Road. Dinners are served at 5 p.m. nightly. Rides and games open at 6 p.m., and a parade is at 7 p.m. Thursday. Information: 301-829-0100.
Aug. 15 to 20: Hampstead, 1341 N. Main St. Dinner platters are served at 6 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday. Rides and games open at 7 p.m., and a parade is held at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Information: 410- 239-4280.