The Beacon Hose Firemen’s Carnival and Parade is one of Beacon Falls’ most famous traditions that draws an estimated 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 most of 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, aid for less fortunate families, and other community activities. Fundraisers also help us support our roster of about 100 volunteers.
What’s the deal with holding the carnival this fall amid a pandemic?
We obviously had to cancel the 2020 carnival due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s restrictions were still in place in January 2021, and we made the decision to postpone from our usual June weekend to October. Even though almost all restrictions were lifted in May, that didn’t give us enough time to plan for a June event. We’re confident in holding the event safely in October — and we’re going to give it plenty of Octoberfest taste!
What’s the admission fee to get into the carnival?
There is none! The grounds are open to everyone. The entrances are located near the Beacon Falls Senior Center and by our flagpole. 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!
How do I pay for stuff?
We accept cash, cards, and checks in all areas (ride tickets, food booths, beer truck, and merchandise). Checks should be made out to “Beacon Hose Co. No. 1” with “carnival” on the memo line. 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 offer single-night wristbands $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 Dunkin’ 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.
What’s the deal with alcohol?
Our beer truck — which also includes sangria and hard seltzers — 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.”