BRISTOL BOROUGH >> The St. Ann’s Carnival returned to Pond and Dorrance streets to the delight of young and old.
The delicious smell of freshly-made Italian food wafted through the air as youngsters screamed with excitement as they were whipped around by the Sissler and hoisted hundreds of feet into the air and then dropped by the Super Shot.
A record crowd greeted the second night of the six night carnival, which has been taking place in the borough for more than a quarter of a century and benefits St. Marks Parish and the St. Ann’s Worship Center.
Kids and parents stood in line eagerly awaiting their turn on the rides while others lined up for the freshly made Italian food from mouth-watering meatball sandwiches and Italian sausage sandwiches to pizza.
In another area of the carnival Adults played bingo while youngsters tried their hand at a nearby fish pond. One excited youngster fished a lobster out of the pond earning him a prize and a special memory of his evening at the carnival.
“It’s a great celebration. It’s a great time,” said Father Dennis Mooney, who spent a busy evening working the food booth. “The kids are so happy. Their parents are happy to be out. It’s just a joy to be in each other’s company again. It’s a good time.”
And the food, he added, is truly delicious. “I’ve already tried everything,” he said, adding that his favorite is the Italian sausage sandwich.
On this particular night, kids were enjoying a free night of food, fun and unlimited rides as part of Police Night at the Carnival and thanks to the generosity of the DeCaro family, the owners of Bristol Environmental, which picked up the admission of every borough youngster.
Throughout the evening, members of II the Bristol Borough Police Department distributed more 500 tickets to the kids who were treated to unlimited rides, hot dogs, pizza, soda and ice cream.
“This is an excellent opportunity for us to meet the people of Bristol Borough and Interact with them in a positive environment,” said Police Chief Stephen Henry. “We’re fortunately to have the DeCaro family step up from Bristol Environmental to allow this to happen.”
Several officers joined the kids for a ride on the Sizzler while others took in the sea of smiles and youthful excitement that permeated every corner of the carnival grounds.
“This is an incredible event,” he said of Police Night at the Carnival. “We’ve given out more than 500 tickets. Situations like this, which our officers really enjoy, is a win-win for everyone.”
Bristol Borough Council President Ralph DiGuiseppe, a key organizer of the carnival, joined Chief Henry in officially kicking off the extra special evening.
“Tonight’s a record crowd for a Tuesday night thanks to Ernie and the DeCaro Family, which sponsors the Night Out With Police,” said DiGuiseppe. “It gives Borough kids the opportunity who could never afford to be here, an opportunity to ride all night and enjoy the pizza and the food. And they have a great time.”
This is the second year Ernie DeCaro and the DeCaro Family has sponsored the kids at the carnival in conjunction with police night.
“The kids are the heart of our future,” he said looking around at all the kids enjoying themselves at the carnival. “This is one of the best events in the borough and I’m glad to be able to provide this for the kids,” said Ernie.
DeCaro himself has been involved in the carnival for years, recalling when they literally used to build the infrastructure.
“It’s just great seeing everyone come together. It’s the atmosphere. It’s the food. It’s the games,” said DeCaro. “I just think it’s a wonderful community event and it helps the church, the kids and the school.”
The first night of the carnival was also packed and with no inclement weather in the immediate forecast the event looks to be a record breaker.
“The highlight is always the food,” said DiGuiseppe. “Everything is cooked fresh every night. People come here for the food and also the camaraderie of all the people. And that’s what it’s all about - having a good time.
“Look around. I’m seeing a lot of smiling faces - young and old,” added DiGuiseppe. “We have our popular bake sale. They bake all week. People look forward to this. And especially this year. People want to get out. A lot are tired of being cooped up.”