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April 8, 2019

Fauquier’s last fireman’s carnival reluctantly ends

File Photo/Hunter Baker
Rain and a changing community have greatly reduced Remington Fireman’s Carnival attendance in recent years.
Remington volunteers have cancelled the last fireman’s carnival in Fauquier County.

After 76 consecutive years of staging the four-day event, the Remington Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department announced last Thursday that it will end.

“Anybody who’s been to the carnival in the last five years has seen the decline,” Company 2 President Steve Wright said Monday. “It’s like running a business, and it turned out not to be profitable any more.”

The Remington volunteers kept running the carnival in late May and early June after their Fauquier peers gave up the traditional fundraisers. Fire companies in Catlett, Goldvein, Lois, Marshall and Warrenton also operated carnivals — with parades, games of chance, midway rides and food booths — for decades.

But, one-by-one they folded over the years.

The Remington members in February voted to face the inevitable, Mr. Wright said. “We regret not being able to continue. It was not a decision made lightly.”

A core group of volunteers started working on the annual event each December and finished in June, he said.

In recent years, “it has rained or, when it did not rain, we had low turnout to support our event,” Mr. Wright wrote Thursday night on Facebook. Additionally, construction of the new playground at Margaret M. Pierce Elementary School reduced the space available for the carnival, he said.

“The world has changed,” the longtime volunteer added. “Kids have their phones these days. They’re not as interested in midway rides or throwing rings to win stuffed animals.”

Because of the carnival’s decline, its cancellation will have little effect on the Remington volunteer organization’s fund-raising, which remains very active.

“We still have the Spring Bash, the Fall Bash and dinners,” Mr. Wright said. “We do a lot more fundraising than most companies.”

Remington still has 70 volunteers on its rolls, including 35 who run calls and another 15 who help with administration and fundraising, Mr. Wright said.

“We still appreciate donations and we still welcome volunteers,” he added.

The Remington volunteer company started March 3, 1942, making it second only to the Warrenton Volunteer Fire Co. in longevity in Fauquier.
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