On Tuesday, July 16, I pulled into the packed parking lot of the 2019 Dewey Fire Company Carnival ready to eat, drink, ride and play at an event that epitomizes small-town fun on a summer night.
You’ll find a couple of kiddie rides at the typical community carnival, but here in Hellertown, the sight of a skyward-stretching, green and yellow glowing ferris wheel nearly made me rear-end somebody while parking.
It had friends, too. Kids ran through the rope tunnel high above the crowd that surrounded a jungle gym obstacle course. They tucked themselves in sacks and raced down the largest slide known to child. They took some laps on the miniature roller coaster. They stuck to the walls of the fast-spinning alien starship that would’ve emptied the stomachs of those foolish enough to eat beforehand.
With all the best games you’d find on your average boardwalk, you’d think you were at the shore. Rings and bottles. Darts and balloons. Balls and hoops. Ducks and their matching counterparts. After pathetic attempts at these amusements, I was disappointed to remember I was walking on grass, not wood, and that the distant parking lot replaced a crashing ocean.
Starved by the glory of it all, I grabbed a burger at the pavilion. There must’ve been 10 or 20 people in the snack stand serving hot dogs, fries, pretzels and more to hordes of hungry people. There were also food trucks scattered among the rides and games serving up additional goods. Eating my burger in a sea of tables, I sat beside one filled with Dewey Fire Company volunteers.
“It’s first responders night,” explained Head Coordinator Vicki Delmore. “We have the local fire and police departments come to show off their apparatuses and talk to the public.”
I passed the fire trucks and squad cars that lined the road back to my car. A fireman stood by his truck, explaining all the complex components to a group of hypnotized bystanders. On their way out, many grabbed free giveaways from the table by the police cruisers.
The Dewey Fire Co. Carnival continues through Saturday, July 20. It is open from 6 to 10 p.m. nightly.
Fireworks will take place on Friday at 10 p.m. The rain date for the fireworks is Saturday at 10 p.m.
Tim Healy is a Bethlehem Township resident and a student at Boston College, where he studies English. Read more of his writing on the independently-published local website, The Valley Nugget.