NO Gettysburg Carnival

While the Gettysburg Fireman’s Carnival, as shown in this file photo from 2012, will not be held this year because of the unavailability of concessionaires, “A Gettysburg Fourth” bingo will be hosted by Gettysburg Area Recreation Authority and the Rotary Club of Gettysburg on July 4 at the rec park with fireworks that evening, sponsored by Destination Gettysburg. More information about the bingo will be posted on the Gettysburg Fire Department’s website at www.gettysburgfd.com.(Darryl Wheeler/Gettysburg Times, File)

The Gettysburg Fire Department will not hold its annual carnival this year.

The Gettysburg Fireman’s Carnival won’t happen this year because of difficulty finding ride vendors, said Dave Blocher, president of the Gettysburg Fire Department.

Taking a peek behind the scenes, increased liability insurance rates are making it no longer profitable for the vendors, Blocher said.

The carnival, which is typically held around the Fourth of July, was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, according to Blocher.

Blocher said COVID-19 “did play a small part” in the carnival’s cancellation since the fire department needs to start planning for the event eight months in advance.

The carnival has occurred for well over 50 years, said Blocher, who remembered the event ever since he joined the department as a junior firefighter in 1989 at 14 years old.

“With the carnival, we raised over $50,000 annually,” Blocher said. “Obviously, that is a big number to recuperate.”

Blocher said he is not sure concessionaire availability will improve to enable the department to hold a carnival in the future.

“It’s hard to say at this point,” Blocher said. “Anything is under consideration with fundraising with our department. I am sure it will be reevaluated.”

The department knew they needed to find alternative funding solutions, so a committee was formed, according to Blocher.

The fire department will hold bingo at “A Gettysburg Fourth,” hosted by Gettysburg Area Recreation Authority and the Rotary Club of Gettysburg on July 4 at the rec park, Blocher said. More information about the bingo will be posted on the Gettysburg Fire Department’s website at www.gettysburgfd.com.

The event, which includes music, food trucks, and fireworks, starts at 3 p.m. with fireworks at 9:20 p.m., sponsored by Destination Gettysburg. Onsite parking is available on a first come, first parked basis for $6 with a dollar discount if paid in cash. The rain date is July 5.

The department is also plans a Cash Bash on Sept. 10, which has gates opening at 12 p.m. and the raffle drawings starting at 1 p.m. at the Gettysburg Area Rec Park, according to Blocher. The rain date is Sept. 11.

The Cash Bash tickets are $10 per person, which includes a meal and beverages, in addition to the chance to win a cash raffle, Blocher said. Children under 12 years old can come in for free, along with an accompanying adult with a paid ticket, according to Blocher.

There are 14 prizes ranging from $200 to $500, and then all tickets are eligible for the $4,500 grand prize, Blocher said. If the grand prize is claimed within 10 minutes, the winner receives an additional $500, according to Blocher.

Plans call for drawing raffle tickets about every 20 minutes and winners do not have to be present to claim their prize, he said. The department also plans to have other small games of chance available.

Tickets will soon be available for purchase on the department’s website at www.gettysburgfd.com, by phone at 717-334-7548, or stopping by the business office on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. and asking for the business manager, according to Blocher. Community members can also get tickets through a member of the department, Blocher said.

Donations are always accepted at the Gettysburg Fire Department, Blocher said, noting they are in the process of sending out their annual solicitation mailing.

“A lot of people who move to Gettysburg do not understand we are a volunteer fire department,” Blocher said. “We are running over 800 fire and rescue calls a year.”

Readers may contact Vanessa Sanders at vsanders@gettysburgtimes.com.

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