The Beacon Hose Firemen’s Carnival and Parade is one of Beacon Falls’ most famous traditions that draws more than 10,000 visitors from town and elsewhere. We still get plenty of questions about the event, though, so here are some quick answers to the most common ones we hear.
What’s the purpose of the carnival?
We love and respect tradition at Beacon Hose, and this is one of Beacon Falls’ most time-honored spectacles. It gives us a chance to host our fellow residents and friends from other towns to have a blast for three nights to kick off the summer! More importantly, it’s our biggest fundraiser of the year. While the town funds our emergency response activities and equipment, we put the carnival proceeds toward the many causes we support throughout the year. They include sponsorship of local youth sports teams, fire prevention programs, educational scholarships, holiday functions and other community activities. Fundraisers also help us support our roster of about 100 volunteers.
What’s the admission fee to get into the carnival?
There is none! The grounds are open to everyone. The entrance is located near the Beacon Falls Senior Center. Tickets are only required for rides. If you’ve never been to the carnival and want to see what it’s all about without buying a ticket, then you’re in luck. Come check it out — we think you’ll like it!
Wait, no more food tickets?
That’s right! In 2016, we realized something: Why should you have to wait in one long line just so you can get tickets to wait in another line for food? That made sense way back when, but it doesn’t make sense anymore. Now you can pay for your food and drinks directly at the booths with cash or cards.
Do you accept checks and credit cards?
Yes. Checks should be made out to “Beacon Hose Co. No. 1” with “carnival” on the memo line. Credit cards are accepted at the ride ticket booth and the food booths. Alcohol can be purchased with cash only. There is a $1 transaction fee charged for card usage to offset our processing expenses.
Are there wristband nights or matinee specials for rides?
In partnership with our attractions vendor, Marenna Amusements, we brought back ride wristbands for the first time in many years for 2016. Single-night wristbands cost $35. The family pack of tickets is also popular. A 24-pack of tickets costs $20. Tickets are good for all three nights; wristbands are good for one night only.
Where is parking available?
Parking is available on the street shoulders, in the commuter lots on North Main Street and Railroad Avenue, on the grass medians, and at local businesses after they’ve closed for the night. We’ve been asked by Beacon Mill Village and the Beacon Falls Xpress Mart to keep carnival patrons from parking in their lots, and Beacon Falls Pharmacy only allows parking after it closes for the night. If necessary, parking is also available up the hill at the Beacon Falls Town Hall or Laurel Ledge Elementary School. Both locations are only about a five-minute walk from the firehouse.
Can I drink beer outside the firehouse?
Yes! Our beer truck — which also includes margaritas and sangria — has been located behind the firehouse since the 2016 event. That way, patrons can enjoy the fresh air or watch their children on rides. Alcohol must be kept on the premises, and all consumers must present ID and wear a wristband issued by our staff.
How can I donate to the carnival?
We send out letters to local businesses and residents each spring as we begin planning for the carnival to ask for a donation, no matter what size. If you can’t attend the carnival, it’s a great way to support Beacon Hose. Many residents also send a donation in addition to coming on down to have some fun with us. Regular donations can be made by clicking here. Businesses interested in sponsoring the event can click here.
What if I have a suggestion or complaint about the carnival?
We want to hear it. Let us know what you think by clicking here.
How long have the carnival and parade been going on?
This event became a yearly tradition in 1963, while Daniel Lee Jr. was chief. Many local fire departments used to have carnivals and parades, but many have ended their traditions in recent years because of the work required. Beacon Hose considers the carnival tradition very important, so we don’t ever plan on getting rid of it! Check out our entire carnival and parade history here.
What’s this I hear about bologna sandwiches?
It’s a legendary part of our parade tradition, of course! Parades around the state end with a little party among firefighters in a bullpen area, and so does ours. Usually the fare consists of beer and hot dogs, but we’ve offered sandwiches since we started it up in 1963. Now, we’re known to many fellow fire departments as the “Home of the Bologna Sandwich.”