EASTON, Conn. -- 7-year-old Matthew Weng has been coming to the Easton Fireman's Carnival for three years -- and each year he heads straight to the superslide ride.
"I like to go down fast," said Matthew of Easton, who came to the carnival with his mother, Linda.
Tuesday was opening night at the 75th annual Easton Fireman's Carnival, which runs from 6 to 11 p.m. through Saturday, Aug. 6, on the field at 1 Center Road.
Admission is free. Ride bracelets cost $25.
According to Steve Waugh, chief of the Easton Volunteer Fire Company, the carnival draws 1,500 to 2,000 people a night and is the fire company's largest fundraiser.
Proceeds go to the Easton Volunteer Fire Co. to pay for running the building and painting the grounds, as well as expenses such as heat and electricity.
"The Easton Volunteer Fire Co. provides fire protection for the town," said Waugh, an Easton resident. "We get 550 to 600 calls a year, ranging from brush and structure fires to car accidents, to carbon monoxide calls as well as calls pertaining to any hazardous materials."
Waugh said the carnival requires year-round planning. "As soon as we're done with the carnival each year, we have to start to plan for next year," he said.
Although this year is a big anniversary for the carnival, an even bigger anniversary is coming up, he said. In five years, the Easton Volunteer Fire Co. will celebrate its 100th anniversary.
"We're contemplating fireworks for it," Waugh said.
Evan Lombardo, 7, and his 6-year-old brother Nico have been coming to the carnival for the past five years, along with his parents Shannon and Jim. "I like the race horse game the most," Evan said. "You have to throw your ball and the horse moves."
Nico said he prefers the clown game, where he won a stuffed Dalmatian. "To play, you have to press the water gun and it shoots water in the center of the clown's mouth," Nico said.
Julia Gurney said her twins John and Allan, who are 7, love going on the bumper cars because "they're finally big enough to do it themselves," she said.
Waugh said the carnival has lasted for so long and is still going strong because it's a good family activity. "We've had people coming here their entire lives.
"A gentleman in his 70s came up to me recently and said he remembers being here when he was 12 and winning a plastic train," Waugh said.
Free parking is available at Helen Keller Middle School, 360 Sport Hill Road, with a free shuttle bus to the carnival. For more information on the carnival, click here. To purchase car raffle tickets online, click here.
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