DAUPHIN BOROUGH, Pa. (WHTM) — A favorite Midstate carnival that raises money for important causes almost didn’t happen.
A major fire in October 2021 destroyed the community building that housed the historical society, as well as the Lions Club and all the supplies needed to put the carnival on.
The Dauphin-Middle Paxton Lions Club has been putting on a carnival for more than 60 years.
“Look at all the happy kids out here. You can’t beat that. And I’m even happy,” said Charles Trostle.
It’s got all the staples from the rides to the candy apples to the live music.
“I really didn’t think they were gonna have one this year. I really didn’t,” Trostle said.
That’s because a fire destroyed the building last October “which was our carnival kitchen. It was an out kitchen that we served all of our food out of, cooked all of our own food,” said Brian Cuddy, carnival chairman. “We lost all of our stands for the various games that we have, all of our tarps ,tents.”
Cuddy calls it a comeback story for the ages.
“The easy thing to do would have been to throw in the towel. And I don’t think anybody would have necessarily blamed us for that,” Cuddy said. “But to pull it together and see it now. It’s pretty special.”
It’s a big fundraiser for the Lions Club which provides everything from college scholarships to community events and vision assistance.
“All of our monies at some point or some level of flow back to the community,” Cuddy said.
“when I was a kid growing up here, I always look forward to the carnival every year,” said Lions Club member Ron Hull.
Hull has been behind the grill for more than 15 years.
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“It’s a community event. I mean, it brings the community together every year,” Hull said. “So even though we had the fire we felt if we don’t have the carnival we might lose it forever.”
Community organizations, including the Dauphin-Middle Paxton Home Association stepped in to help make it happen.
“Free armbands for the kids that are like residents or members. But that seems to work out well. That helps them out a lot. We put donations toward the fireworks stuff like that,” said Pamela Venderhoef, general manager/steward of the Dauphin-Middle Paxton Home Association
What seemed like a pipe dream after the fire now continues to entertain and help the community.
The carnival is open from 6 to 10 p.m.nightly through Saturday, July 16.
Fireworks are scheduled for 9:30 p.m. on Friday, July 15.