THIS WEEKND: Relish the festival

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — Life member of the Front Royal Fire Department Hoss Feldhauser has helped plan 48 Fireman's Carnivals, and he has not become tired of the famous relish.

More than 400 gallons of the mustard-based relish was prepared for this yearís 89th annual Firemanís Carnival, which runs July 13-23 — excluding Sunday, July 17 — at the carnival grounds across from Bing Crosby Stadium.

The relish ingredients were created in the 1950s by firemen Skeeter Henry, Hugh Williams and former Sheriff Gary Keiser. The unwritten recipe, which calls for 1,500 pounds of cabbage and onions, has been passed down to each generation of firemen since.

The relish sold out early at the last carnival, so the firemen prepared 460 gallons this year. The relish is special, Feldhauser said, and there have been requests to have it sent as far away as Texas.

"It's spicy, it's got a bite to it," Feldhauser said.

Food stands, which Feldhauser said probably draw the most people, open at 5 p.m. and rides will open at about 6:30. There will be about 18 rides, activities, games and food. The bingo stand run by the firemen is one of the more popular games at the carnival.

There is no admission charge at the carnival, but there are charges for the rides and games.

The first carnival was in 1927 on the lawn at the old courthouse, and there has been one every year since. It moved to its current location across from Bing Crosby Stadium in 1969.

Citizens should come enjoy the carnival to be a part of the community, Feldhauser said.

"Even if you don't participate in any of the carnival games, you walk around and get to see people that you donít see that often. And the food of course," Feldhauser said.

Money raised from the carnival is used primarily to replace the stationís equipment, Feldhauser said. The department hopes to replace its firetruck within about three years, at a cost anywhere from $750,000 or more.

The amount raised varies each year and depends on how much it rains, Feldhauser said. In 1984, when the carnival was a five-day attraction, it rained the whole week. So, the department decided to stretch the festivities to 10 days.

The Front Royal Fire Department has been in operation since 1870, and is a 24-hour station, according to its website. The station responds to about 3,500 calls annually and is one of the busiest stations in northern Virginia.

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