Shaw and Sons Amusements

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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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