BEAVERTOWN — Though the popular and long-running Hillbilly Fever Days Carnival in Beavertown had to be canceled this year due to the COVID pandemic restrictions, Rescue Hose Co. No. 20 was determined to still offer the community a chance to get out of the house and enjoy the delicious food the carnival-goers look forward to each year. 

A Hillbilly Food Festival will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday at Possum Hollow Park, 222 S. Sassafras St. (behind the fire company). 

According to Bob Rice, one of the coordinators for the event, though they weren’t able to provide the quality crowd-drawing entertainment and children’s games that the normal carnival — the largest annual fundraiser for the fire company — would have included, they are glad they could offer something that will at least help them to recoup some of the losses due to canceling not just the major carnival, but also their normal in-house dinners and a Spring Fling that was planned for this year. They continue to offer drive-thru dinners. 

“We’re just adjusting to the needs,” Rice said. “It’s rough for everybody.” 

The food festival will feature the carnival food that the fire company is known for, and what has drawn visitors in past years to their food stands. In addition to the normal carnival food offerings such as French fries and ice cream, Thursday, the featured food will be hamburgers and hot dogs; on Friday, fish, crab cakes and oysters; and on Saturday, the fire company’s famous made-from-scratch ham and beef potpie will be available to purchase by the quart, beginning at 4 p.m. 

Also on site will be the Beavertown Home and School Club selling funnel cakes, and Houtz’s Sweet Treats.  

“We want to keep everybody safe,” Rice said, and this scaled-back version of the carnival will allow visitors to better follow CDC recommendations. There will be socially-distanced picnic tables on-site; patrons can also choose to order take-out. 

The volunteers will be wearing masks and gloves, and hand sanitation posts will be available throughout the grounds. Signs for marking 6-foot social distancing will also be placed in front of the booths. 

While they are planning conservatively, they are hoping that many from the community will come out. 

“Public support is vital to all the volunteer fire departments, especially when we can’t hold our normal events,” said Cole Kratzer, a member of Rescue Hose Co. No. 20 and another coordinator for the carnival. “During these uncertain times, we had to learn to adapt and find different ways to raise funds. 

“We really want to thank those who support us, so we can do our part to help the community when we are called.” 

Rice encourages visitors to come and enjoy the “camaraderie, the carnival atmosphere and the standard fire company food.” 

It’s a chance to get out of the house, he said, and “to come out and enjoy each other’s company, which a lot of people haven’t been able to do.” 

“We look forward to seeing everybody there!”

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