It’s not December, but the month of August that the town’s volunteer firemen dub “the most wonderful time of the year,” when the town prepares for the annual Firemen’s Carnival August 2-5 on the Orange Fairgrounds.
“It’s better than Christmastime,” says carnival chairperson and volunteer fireman Don Foyer who reports everything this year is pretty much “status quo.” Carnival-goers can expect more of the same good old fashioned and free fun—more than 20 “spectacular” rides, food, raffles, and games that have made the carnival a highlight of the summer for over 90 years. Exactly how many years Orange has hosted the carnival is a bit of a mystery. Foyer estimates this is probably the 92nd or 93rd year—but no one can say for sure. Established in 1925, when it was first held on the town green, town officials report it taking place every year since – except for two years when it was called off during a smallpox epidemic and again during World War II.
This year, in addition to the usual food tent and staples like the hot roast beef sandwiches, steak sandwiches and famous sundae stands, several food trucks that were added last year will be back. “The Mr. Potato Head and the Belgian Bus Waffle Truck were big hits,” Foyer said.
As a volunteer department, the staff and the town rely on the carnival as the major fundraising event for the year, the proceeds from the event helping to fund the department’s operating budget and purchase of new equipment. Foyer is hoping to raise enough money this year to help offset the costs of a new, state-of-the-art Spartan fire truck the department ordered earlier this year for $859,207. The new six-ladder truck with a 1,500-gallon pump is slated for delivery by December and will replace the 1978 open cab fire truck which is no longer compliant and in need of repair.
As preparations gear up this week Foyer only hopes the weather cooperates. “The weather can make or break ya,” he said.
The carnival opens at 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at noon Saturday and Sunday at the Orange Fairgrounds, 525 Orange Center Road. There will be fireworks Friday and Saturday night. Admission and parking is free.