Crowds made it clear last year that Morgan County was ready for the return of a fireman’s carnival, and South Morgan Volunteer Fire Company has not only brought back the event but added new events and entertainment for the whole family.
Volunteers with the fire company have spent the last six months planning the 2023 Fireman’s Carnival, which begins Tuesday, August 29 and runs through Saturday, September 2 at the South Morgan fire station on Winchester Grade Road.
The carnival is free to attend, with free entertainment each night.
Carnival grounds are located at 10166 Winchester Grade Road – 10 miles south of Berkeley Springs.
New & expanded offerings
Community and business sponsors have contributed to bring live music and wrestling entertainment for the public. The first night of the carnival will close with a fireworks display on Tuesday night. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m.
Carnival rides require tickets or all-night armbands. There will be food and drinks available for purchase during the five-night event. Rides from Snyder’s Attractions run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night.
T&K Amusements will provide games during the event, and the fire company will run a dime toss, dunk booth and tip jars.
Parking for the carnival is free just south of the fire station in a well-marked location. Volunteers will direct traffic in and out of the carnival parking area.
Morgan County’s Sheriff’s Deputy Reserves will also assist with traffic control along Winchester Grade Road around the carnival grounds.
Carnival organizers expanded the station’s parking area to accommodate more rides and booths from Snyder’s Attractions this year, and have made other improvements to the fire department grounds to make the carnival run smoothly.
South Morgan Fire Company President Dale Heironimus said last year’s carnival success and feedback from people inspired the carnival committee to add entertainment, contests and give the community an even better experience.
“The carnival is a fundraiser, but it really is our way of giving back to our supporters and to the whole community,” said Heironimus.
“Judging from the comments we received from the community, last year’s carnival was an overwhelming success. It brought people together again, to see their friends and neighbors who live in their community. We want to keep the carnival alive and add activities that make it a little bit different and a little bit more attractive than last year,” he said. “It’s a work in progress from year to year, based on finances, sponsorships, volunteer manpower and logistics onsite.”
While organizing this year’s events, he’s heard from sponsors and supporters who said they’re excited the carnival is returning once again.
“We want the community to be proud of the carnival and activities we provide. At the end of the week, we want people to be saying, ‘I can’t wait till next year!’,” Heironimus said.
On Tuesday, August 29, rides will open at 6 p.m. at the fire station. Free music will begin at 7 p.m. at the bandstand with country musician Spencer Hatcher kicking off the carnival lineup.
There is ample room for people to bring lawn chairs for the show.
Fireworks will go off at 9:30 p.m. on the hillside to the west. Fireworks are made possible through hotel/motel funds from Travel Berkeley Springs and the Morgan County Commission.
Another new feature of this year’s carnival will be a nightly meet and greet with Smokey the Bear from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
On Wednesday, August 30, rides open again at 6 p.m. Bobby D and the Truckstop Burritos provide free music, starting at 7 p.m.
On Thursday, August 31, WrestleRock will combine music and wrestling entertainment in a designated ring at the carnival grounds. Musical group Freakshow will perform at 7 p.m.
On Friday, the carnival will hold its new Baby Contest at 5 p.m. First and second prizes will be given for each of several age groups – newborn to 12 months, 13 months to 24 months and 25 months through 35 months. There will be a boy and girl winner in each age group.
Rides will open again at 6 p.m. and Friday’s musical entertainment is from The Spinouts, featuring Taylor Brown, starting at 7 p.m.
Saturday’s carnival is an all-day affair, with All Grassed Up performing first at the bandstand at 1 p.m.
South Morgan will host their long-standing Ham & Fried Chicken Dinner on Saturday, September 2 starting at 1 p.m. and running through 6 p.m. The dinner will be followed by a live auction at 7 p.m. These are part of the fire department’s traditional Labor Day yard party that has been their main fundraiser and community event for decades.
As carnival rides open on Saturday, BlackCat School of Rock Juniors will perform for crowds at 6 p.m. Promising Leith, with roots in South Morgan, will perform on Saturday evening at 7 p.m., stepping in as the final act of the 2023 Fireman’s Carnival. The carnival will close out at 10 p.m.
Want to volunteer?
Volunteers are still needed and welcome to assist with the many aspects of the carnival, from parking to games to food preparation to carnival grounds clean-up.
There’s time to sign up on the carnival website as a volunteer, or contact a member of the fire company to offer your time and help.
Information about the carnival can be found at Firemanscarnival.com or on South Morgan Volunteer Fire Department’s social media page.