BRANDON — The third annual Brandon Carnival was going strong Saturday, with hundreds of people turning out for rides, games, food and fun events.
“We’ve had a fantastic turnout, the weather has been phenomenal,” said Bill Moore, recreation director and economic development officer for the town. “We had probably our best Thursday night in the few years we’ve been doing the carnival.”
Student musicians from Lothrop Elementary School in Pittsford and Neshobe Elementary School in Brandon performed Thursday, the carnival’s opening day.
“Which was fantastic because all those kids are going to Otter Valley together next year, especially with the Act 46 consolidation we’ve been trying to do a lot more to bring those guys together early on,” said Moore. “They’re more than game, excited to do it next year.”
The carnival has free parking, free admission and free events. The only things people paid for were ride bracelets and food. Supplying the latter was a blend of traditional fair offerings and local establishments.
“It’s a super fun event, it’s a family-friendly event, it’s sort of like there are kids running around and we have 500 mothers watching everybody else’s kid,” said assistant recreation director Colleen Wright, who started the carnival.
“It’s fortunate, because Miller Amusements, I’d made a connection previously, and he had an open date, and I took it. If it had been Dec. 14, I would’ve also taken it because I like seeing people have fun,” said Wright, who also coordinates the Brandon Toy Project.
Moore said the event has been a success in part because of the atmosphere.
“It’s a nice community fair. Parents feel comfortable because of the size of the fair but also the fact we’ve got lots of staff,” he said. “People feel safe. We’ve got the police supporting us, and knock on wood, we’ve had no issues whatsoever. In the last three years, it’s been a good family-friendly community-run fair.”
The fair also marked the end of the Brandon Idol competition. Moore said Holly Mugford-Bermingham is the idol who got the $1,000 grand prize.
Among those helping out around the fair were Sophie Moore and Jaylee MacJarrett, both 12-year-old Brandon residents tasked with running the bingo tent.
“The first day I really wanted to help, I was like, ‘What can I do, Mom, what can I do?’ She wouldn’t tell me what to do, and then eventually I found a job to help out with,” said Sophie Moore, Bill Moore’s daughter. “Bingo is our one commitment, then people give us jobs if they need it.”
“We did it last year,” said MacJarrett.
The event was held at Estabrook Park, north of town off Route 7. It was scheduled to end Sunday.