Visitors enjoy the 69th annual event in Pumpkin Hook.
FARMINGTON — Five-year-old Aiden Lair had a lot to smile about Saturday as he trotted from one carnival ride to the next.
Under his arm he clutched a giant stuffed shark, won when he picked the right plastic duck out of the water at the Pick a Lucky Duck game.
Aiden and his 3-year-old sister, Kinsey Lair, can thank their aunt, Jackie Steubing, who brought them for a day of fun at the Farmington Volunteer Fire Association’s 69th annual carnival in Pumpkin Hook.
“We’re having an aunt’s day,” said Steubing, as she corralled Aiden and Kinsey before moving on to the next ride. “We started off with the kiddie parade and they dressed up. We have the Sno-cones, and we come for the chicken barbecue.”
Aiden’s favorite are the rides he can stand up on. And the duck game was pretty exciting, too.
“Everybody wins, so that’s nice,” said Steubing.
Oswego resident Mary Bailey was at the helm when Aiden won his prize.
“I like to please the kids — I like to see them win,” said Bailey.
Event organizer Scott Parker estimated there were 12 gaming booths, multiple food booths and 10 rides for children, parents and grandparents to enjoy, tucked in between fields of corn in northern Farmington.
Four generations of Parkers manned the main food tent again this year, including third-generation brothers Jeff and Scott.
“My grandparents started this up years and years ago, and my dad ran the parade for years,” said Jeff. “My grandmother ran the hot dog grill for decades, and it’s just kind of come on down through the years.”
Jean Parker watched over her extended family — sometimes 10 of them — as they served up steaming white and red hots.
“My mom was pregnant with me when I first started coming,” said Jeff of the carnival. “It’s just kind of in my blood.”
Sure, a thunderstorm came blasting through Friday night, but the rain was perfectly timed, Jeff said. The annual parade went off without a hitch.
“Most of the units arrived before the rain moved in,” he said. “They stepped off a little early, but everything went pretty well. We had a decent crowd that hung for the rest of the night. It was consistent.”
Adults visiting the beer tent — a perennial carnival hot spot — were unfazed by the rain, Jeff said.
“Today we’re above average for the last few years,” said Scott of carnival attendance. “We’re feeling pretty good about what we’re doing.”