By WENDI WINTERS, For the Maryland Gazette

The air is crisp, redolent with nose-tingling aromas that beckon. An endless blur of bright lights and the reverberating sounds of delighted screams and shrieks of laughter electrify the night sky.

You are at the carnival. It’s time to relax and have some old fashioned summertime fun.

Perhaps this is your night to win that giant pink panda.

Since 1970, Taylor & Sons, which operates on Defense Highway in Annapolis, has been one of three amusement companies based in Anne Arundel County. Taylor & Sons, a family business, provides the rides, food and games at many carnivals, plus the staff trained to handle all the details. In this county, their friendly competition is Shaw and Sons Amusements of Severn and Jolly Shows, based in Annapolis.

Five years ago, the Taylors slowly scaled their business down – not realizing they had funnel cake and motor grease still flowing through their veins. This year, the company is back on track, handling nearly 30 shows in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

“We’re coming back with a full-sized midway and a selection of games and rides of all sizes and shapes for children and adults alike,” said Clif Taylor, 44, one of the two sons of the company’s founder, Charles Taylor, now 79.

The family affair includes Clif’s brother Cleve, 46; sister Leah Ann Gross, 42; their mother Leah May Taylor; and Clif’s wife Sue-Anne Taylor.

“We missed the carnivals the past few years,” admitted Clif. “We loved the business and working with the super sponsors – the fire departments, civic organizations, churches and fair boards. We’re back and running carnivals again.

Several area carnivals already have come and gone, including ones in Lake Shore, Riviera Beach and Odenton. There are more to come, including the granddaddy of all local carnivals in Glen Burnie starting July 30 and running through Aug. 7.

This weekend, it’s the Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Department’s carnival.

“We’re one of the largest carnivals in the county,” said Paul Demasky, an Earleigh Heights volunteer firefighter involved with the carnival planning. “People return year after year.”

He noted miniature golf and the popular plant wheel, a game of chance, are back after a few years absence. The syrup-flavored snowballs, carnival snacks, and games like fishing are still on the long menu of popular things to do or eat.

See you at the carnival!

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The amusement ride operator/attendant has full control on most rides and must be proactive and capable of reacting quickly to situations as they arise.

The safety record of the amusement ride industry has greatly improved as a result of inspections, ride maintenance, safe operations and better ride designs, and ride operators/attendants play an important role in maintaining amusement ride safety.

Most countries have occupational health and safety legislation designed to protect the health and safety of workers and the public. Herein is a discussion of the role that amusement ride operators/attendants play in maintaining the highest possible level of safety on the rides on which they work.

Amusement ride operators/attendants should work safely, get as much training as possible in the safe operation of the equipment they are working with and stay alert to prevent safety hazards.
Amusement ride operators/attendants should not engage in any unsafe activities such as horse-play, showing off, or any unseemly behavior while on the job.

Every amusement ride operator/attendant is responsible for on-the-job safety. They are responsible for their own safety as well as the safety of other employees and that of the general public.

Here are some basic rules for a safe workplace that amusement ride operators/attendants should follow:

• Be sure that you know and obey all safety rules and procedures

• Keep your surroundings neat, clean and free of hazards

• Immediately report hazardous situations that might result in an accident

• Complete the inspection checklists prior to operating the ride

• Develop safe work habits and participate in safety training

In addition, there are a number of workplace hazards for which amusement ride operators/attendants should be on the look-out and attend to at once:

• Anything that can cause someone to trip

• Anything that can cause someone to bump their head

• Anything that can cause someone to get a splinter

• Anything that can cause someone to fall

• Anything that can cause someone to get a cut

Amusement ride operators/attendants must work in accordance with the Health and Safety legislation in affect in their area. They must also follow their employer’s policies and safety procedures. They should also be sure not to work when they are tired. Breaks should be taken away from the ride in order to enable the amusement ride operators/attendants to properly relax so that they may return to work refreshed and rested.

It is of the utmost importance that amusement ride operators/attendants be totally familiar with the rides that they are operating. They should observe how the ride operates, and the motions involved in their operation until they understand them completely.

Every ride has a safety zone, which is the area from which the ride is operated. This safety zone is usually designated by the manufacturer or owner of the ride, and should be clearly defined and fenced off, in such a way as to be easily identified by the riders. The safety zone should also be an area that is easily controlled by the amusement ride operators/attendants. The safety zone is for the personal safety of the amusement ride operators/attendants while the ride is in motion, and should never be left while the ride is in motion, or before it has come to a full stop.

The safety of the amusement ride operators/attendants and that of their riders is equally important. Unsafe riding practices are the major cause of incidents on all types of rides.
Rider responsibility should be encouraged, and the amusement ride operators/attendants can play an important role in this. Safety instructions should be clearly posted at the entrance to the ride and the amusement ride operators/attendants should strictly enforce all of them.

It is especially important to reach out to the parents of young children and to enlist their help and support in promoting safe riding practices and in enforcing all safety instructions.

• Be alert to unsafe conditions that could cause trips or falls on the ride platform or steps

• Be alert to unsafe conditions that could cause injury

• Always check that seat belts or safety restraints are fastened and locked in place before the ride starts

• Be careful not to close the door or restraint on any part of the rider’s body while the riders are getting on or off of the ride

• If there is even a suspicion that a rider is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they should not be allowed them

• Remind riders to follow the posted rules for the ride regarding age, height and/or weight restrictions

• Be sure to alert pregnant women and people with heart conditions to possible risks involved in using the ride

• Remind riders to keep hands, arms, legs and feet inside the ride at all times

• Remind riders to remain seated until the ride comes to a complete stop

If there are any problems with a rider or parent because of ride restrictions or behavior, amusement ride operators/attendants should not operate the ride. They should stop the ride if in motion and only resume operation after the problem has been settled.
Amusement ride operators/attendants should always report all safety-related matters to their immediate supervisor, the insurance company and local safety authorities. They should also update the ride manufacturer and consult with them.

Amusement ride operators/attendants should never leave the ride while it is operating.

Amusement ride operators/attendants should watch the ride and riders at all times while it is operating.
Remembering and following these rules while operating amusement rides will significantly increase the chances of a safe and enjoyable time for everyone, riders and operators/attendants alike, while lessening the prospect of stricter insurance terms and licensing requirements for the amusement ride hirers/operators.

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Source: By Tad Vezner – Pioneer Press

There’s only one thing to say about the tasty amalgamation of corn dogs and pizza.

“It kind of makes sense; it brings two classics together,” said Dennis Larson, the Minnesota State Fair official who signs off on new food at the Fair.

And the corn-dog-topped pizza, which will debut at the 2010 State Fair this summer, meets both of Larson’s criteria.

“There’s an artery-clogging element … and the ‘how-do-they-do-that?’ appeal,” Larson said.

Or at least the “why-do-they-do-that?” appeal.

Bryan Enloe got the idea from a friend who owns two concession trailers: one for corn dogs and the other — you guessed it — for pizza.

The friend typed both terms into Google, looking for ideas for signage, and a picture of the hybrid came up on a blog titled “This is Why You’re Fat.” The blog has since been taken down, but the picture stayed with Enloe.

“The stick was still on it (the corn dog),” he said. “It was a really great idea. I do six to eight fairs a year. Minnesota by far, they go for the wildest stuff.”

Under the banner of the Pizza Shoppe, Enloe will put four half corn dogs — sliced lengthways — on top of a cheese pizza, eight slices to a pie, and serve them sans stick.

Topping the artery-clogging category comes another creation called “chicken fried bacon”: bacon battered, breaded, fried and served in a boat with gravy by Giggles’ Campfire Grill. Enough said.

But if you like Southwestern cuisine, Mark Haugen is finally making an effort to truly assimilate with the Fair. His restaurant, Tejas, in Edina, closed in December after 22 years, but he’s keeping the Fair stand open, as he and his partner have for a dozen years.

In all that time, though, they’ve never sold anything on a stick and haven’t deep-fried so much as a crust of bread.

This year, “We kind of want to get on the bandwagon with the deep-fried,” Haugen said. The solution: a lightly breaded and deep-fried avocado, served with ranch dip.

“It seems like a natural progression for us to do that,” he said.

Famous Dave’s Charlie Torgerson has fried pigs’ ears this year — sliced up to look like tiny curly french fries, with a chipotle glaze. Last year, he had peach-glazed pigs’ cheeks after becoming most famous for his chocolate-covered bacon.

“He’s done everything but the squeal,” Larson said. “He’s running out of organs.”

And in the potato arena, Tina and Matt Isaac have merged the spiral-cut potato on a stick with … chocolate.

“You put sugar on it instead of salt, you gotta whole different thing,” said Matt Isaac who can’t stop talking about potato chips. “I love potato chips. I think I grew up on those.”

His sister, Tina, on the other hand, loves chocolate. And so …

“A lot of it’s trial and error. You end up buying a lot of chocolate and finding out what happens to it. It’s not the worst thing in the world,” Tina Isaac said.

The pair found a chocolate coating that stays hard — even in the heat. You can also sprinkle extra sugar on top, if you’re in the mood.

Also new at the Fair — which runs from Aug. 26 to Labor Day, Sept. 6 — are Cincinnati chili (spaghetti topped with chili); mashed potatoes on a stick; deep-fried shortcake; and Caramel Apple Puppies (Fudge Puppies with baked-in apple, covered in caramel), among others.

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