Whirling gears, bright lights and the banging of wheels on a track — all part of a summer night at the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department’s annual Firemen’s Carnival.
The familiar sounds and smells — funnel cake, french fries and pizza — bore special meaning two days after a tornado with 125 mph winds tore through homes on the island.
“The Kent Island carnival is a constant every year,” 2nd Lt. James Majors said.
The community was rocked to its foundation by the tornado, Majors said, and the carnival is a morale booster that’s bringing together families, neighbors and the department.
The first calls for the tornado came in around 1:30 a.m. Monday, and the Kent Island department was on the scene until about 3 p.m. Tuesday, Majors said.
The week-long carnival started Sunday. Monday night it was canceled. The tornado affected community members, but it also impacted the firefighters, Majors said.
“We figured it’d be best to cancel Monday night so everybody could be with their family and their neighbors, and take care of what they need to take care of,” he said.
The carnival resumed Tuesday. The annual event benefits the volunteer department, and the members of the department also man concessions.
Melanie Aiser came out to the event Wednesday with three grandchildren. The Stevensville resident said she came out to support the department.
Aiser said the community response to the tornado victims has been strong — she’s heard of people offering up beds in their homes, and hot meals.
Bill Willis, owner of Willis Auto Care and Tire Center, said the tornado knocked the power out and closed his business for two days.
The fire department did a good job responding, he said, as did Delmarva Power in returning his power as quickly as they did, given the damage that was done, he said.
Just about every member of the department manning concessions Wednesday was also…