Even with a 100-foot long varnished wood “Big Slide,” volunteers with the Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company say the top draw at their annual carnival is the food.
“The biggest draw is the fried ham,” Dale Kline, the president of the fire company, said Monday. “People come here to eat.”
Kline said the carnival, which runs through Saturday at Mount Tabor Park, north of the company’s facilities at 13517 Motter Station Road in Rocky Ridge, sells about 3,000 pounds of ham for its ham sandwiches.
It will also go through 500 gallons of the homemade chicken corn and bean soup. The soup required 750 pounds of chicken.
The ladies’ auxiliary also baked 457 pies, which are sold by the slice.
Kline said 75 volunteers from the fire company and auxiliary help organize the carnival, along with another 75 volunteers from the community, who help run the food stands and other booths. Kline wouldn’t say how much the carnival earned, but said it is the largest fundraiser for the all-volunteer fire company.
“It’s what makes this fire company run,” he said.
Pat Riggs, who helped cook the carnival pies, said she’s been helping with the pies for about five years, and it has become second nature.
“It’s the time together we enjoy — away from our regular lives,” she said. “It doesn’t seem like fun. It’s a lot of work, but we enjoy it.”
Other volunteers help in other carnival booths. Sisters Linda Northrup and Bonny Hurley, of Rocky Ridge, were stationed at a booth selling pull-tab lottery tickets on Monday.
Northrup, a member of the auxiliary and the fire company for 39 years, said she looks forward to carnival week, despite the lengthy preparations needed. The carnival volunteers start preparations in July, she said.
“It’s a lot of work to get ready for but we have fun doing it,” Northrup said.
Hurley said the carnival’s draw is not just the food, but the camaraderie of friends and families.
“We don’t have rides, we have fellowship,” she said. “[People] can get together, sit and eat and talk.”
And the carnival attendees appreciate the hard work the volunteers put in.
Lee and Cindy Ott, of Emmitsburg, were enjoying ham sandwiches Monday at picnic benches set up on the carnival grounds. Lee said he appreciates being able to help the fire company, and the great food.
“It’s like a tradition,” Lee said. “When the Rocky Ridge Carnival comes, you have to get a ham sandwich.”
“We always get a couple to take home, too,” she said, laughing. “... Obviously, the food is good, but I like seeing people. Sometimes it’s the only time you see people, at the carnival.”