New Windsor Fire & Hose Company No. 1

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Kevin Dayhoff: New Windsor to kick off fire company carnival season this month
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By EMS Captain David Coe
May 15, 2023

This year the first fire company carnival of the season will be hosted by the New Windsor department from May 23-27 at the New Windsor carnival grounds, 101 High St.

In a Jan. 16 article by Emergency Medical Services Capt. David Coe on the New Windsor department’s website, the fire company announced that after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department “will once again be having a full carnival. … The carnival will feature rides from Snyders Attractions, and will be the first carnival in Carroll County. The carnival will not only feature all the carnival rides that you have come to love over the years, but it will also feature all the carnival food that you have come to love, including New Windsor’s famous crab cakes. …”

Throughout history, Carroll countians have come together to celebrate family and friendships at dances, suppers, picnics, parades, singing and theater events, and church socials. One of the first mentions of a fire department carnival occurs in the Nov. 21, 1896, edition of the old Democratic Advocate newspaper in Westminster: “The Westminster Firemen, They Have Arranged for a Parade On Thanksgiving Day, the Dedication of the Town Clock and the Unveiling of a Memorial Tablet.”

Another early fire company carnival was held in Hampstead in May 1899. The first Reese Fire Company carnival took place in the late 1940s. According to a “History of NWFD 1908-1998,” by Marcell Munshaur and an update by Vivian A. Davis, compiled in March 2009, “The first [New Windsor fire company] carnival was held from June 7th to the 12th, 1948. The gross receipts were $9,384.22 and the net income was $4,153.29. The first five carnivals were held on Hibberd’s fields near town, and then moved to the school grounds after. …

“In 1969, Jack Coe, and Paul Strine were appointed to secure ground for carnival use. Ground was purchased next to the school grounds consisting of 22 lots from 6 owners. 8 lots were donated by Vivian Barnes. Many improvements have been made over the years to the carnival grounds. They include various buildings, blacktop, and underground electric.”

Arts programs and cultural events, fairs and carnivals add to our sense of community and quality of life by bringing people together for a shared experience and contribute to a community’s broader sense of vibrancy, optimism and self-worth. The fairs and carnivals also serve a greater community purpose by providing an important source of fundraising for the fire companies.

The New Windsor Fire Department parade will begin at 7 p.m. May 24. The entertainment for this year’s carnival was announced in an article on the department website.

The entertain includes, May 23: Hurricane Production, by DJ Matt Phelps; May 24: Angels On Fire, featuring hit music “from today and yesterday”; May 25: Payload, featuring rock and classic rock; May 26: Brickyard Road, a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band; and May 27: Dean Crawford and The Dunn’s River Band, featuring country music.

Of course, carnival food fills an important part of the Carroll County nutrition pyramid, and the exhibits and entertainment are a great diversion from spring and summer chores.

Food and entertainment are both big draws for the New Windsor carnival. This year is no different. The menu for May 23 is pork roast and sauerkraut; May 24 is roast beef; May 25 is turkey and dressing; and May 26 is fried shrimp or seafood. According to the New Windsor Fire Department website, “Platters will be served in the air-conditioned social hall each evening from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Platters include two sides and a drink. Fried chicken and crab cake platters will be available nightly.”

This year, the New Windsor Fire Department is celebrating its 75th anniversary. According to the March 2009 history by Munshaur and Davis, “Through the efforts of John W. Hesson, and Russell Lambert, a meeting was held on January 27, 1948, and the Fire Company was re-organized. Seventy-three persons were admitted to membership at that time. …”

However, the roots of the fire company go back to 1908. According to Munshaur and Davis, it was “on December 2, 1908, [that] the citizens of New Windsor held a meeting at the request of the Burgess and Commissioners, for the purpose of organizing a fire company. At this meeting, it was decided to call the fire company by the name of New Windsor Fire Company, but on December 7, 1908, the name was changed to the New Windsor Fire & Hose Co., No.1. …”

After the New Windsor carnival, fire company events will continue throughout the summer. The Gamber fire company will hold its carnival from May 26-June 3; Union Bridge, June 1-3; Taneytown, June 12-17; Sykesville, June 10-17; Harney, June 21-24; Manchester, July 3-8; Winfield, July 11-16; Reese, July 17-22; Mount Airy, July 31-Aug. 5; and the Hampstead fire company will hold the last carnival of the year Aug. 7-12.

The above article was taken from the Carroll County Times, and with the permission of author Kevin Dayhoff. The original article appeared in the Carroll County Times on May 12, 2023, please click on the link to view the original article.

Hyperlinks: Carroll County Times Article

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