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Carnival Provides Joy for Many
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By Member Cheryl Ridgell
September 1, 2010

The 2010 Ridge Carnival came to a close on Sunday, 15 August. The members of the department and auxiliary together with the community hosted yet another successful year.

The onset of the carnival was a little gloomy with our first night, August 5th, bringing storms that forced us to close shortly after we opened. With the following Friday's weather looking to be in our favor, we held onto hopes for a great evening on our second night of opening. Though the weather was wonderful and the crowd was gathered, we once again found ourselves being forced to close early due to a faulty electrical transformer that was causing a safety hazard to all who were present. With the transformer replaced and the pleasant change in the weather, the remainder of the first weekend proved to be a great one as the crowds returned to show their support on Saturday and Sunday.

The second weekend's weather was threatening, but we were spared from the storms and the rains that were forecasted for the Southern Maryland region. Perhaps we had a little help from our guardian angels from above. As always, we received great support from our community as they ventured out Thursday thru Sunday to enjoy good food, good weather and reminiscing with friends and family.
The final night of the carnival proved to be a great night for many reasons. Our $500.00 Cash raffle was won by Sue Norris who is a citizen of the first district. The Carolina Skiff was won by one of our own members, Debbie Fairfax. Congratulations to both ladies.

Finally, a little boy's dream came true! Each night of the carnival, the department gave away free boy's and girl's bikes. A little boy named James would visit Mrs. Raley (we know her as Snooky) and talk about the bikes. He would ask if it was okay to just touch the bikes. James would tell Mrs. Raley how much he wanted one. Unfortunately, James was not one of the lucky winners. Snooky had earlier shared this story with Cheryl Ridgell who organizes the nightly prizes. Cheryl knew there was a bike with training wheels as one of the nightly prizes on the last night. She shared the story with chairman, Mike Ridgell and co-chairman, Tony Ridgell. They had decided if their name was called for a nightly prize, they were going to get the bike for James. Though neither of their names was called, member Clyde Ridgell was a lucky winner and managed to win the bike.

At the end of the carnival, James' parents were tracked down and told that we had a surprise for him. They brought James over and he was given the bike. James was smiling from ear to ear and said he was going to ride the bike all the way home. Of course, his parents knew otherwise. Now, what makes this story so special is that James is not an ordinary little boy dreaming of a new bicycle. James is blind. As he sat on his new bike, he checked the bike over not through his eyes but through his hands. He was very curious as to what was hanging off the ends of the handles. He hadn't felt that on the other bikes. We explained to James that he was feeling the streamers. We also explained to him that the bike was "John Deere Green", as he is familiar with that country song. His mother added it was the same color as his PopPop's tractor. James mother asked "PopPop" if he could modify the bike's pedals so that James feet would not slip off. PopPop stated that it would not be a problem, but would have to wait until morning when he had some tools handy. James was very excited and his brother and sister said they would help him and promised us that he would be safe. It was very obvious that the entire family was excited for James.

On the following Monday, a few of us returned to the carnival grounds to begin post-carnival cleanup. We were visited by James. He told us once again how excited and happy he was to win the bike. What a wonderful feeling it is to give to those who are less fortunate. The committee spends many hours on the carnival so that they can provide a little happiness and enjoyment to the children in the community. But, in this particular case, the carnival brought happiness to the committee as well. This was a good thing and all those involved should be commended for a job well done. We hope James will have memories of his bicycle for years to come!!

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Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
13820 Point Lookout Road
P.O. Box 520
Ridge, MD 20680
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Non-Emergency: 301-872-5571
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