For a man who’s organized dozens of carnivals in his lifetime, Pete Harris never seems to get tired of the bright lights and blaring music emanating from the colorful rides and booths at his events.
For the past three decades, Harris has been in charge of running the Greenport Fire Department’s annual carnival, one of the department’s biggest charity fundraisers.
Harris, the treasurer of the Phoenix Hose and Ladder Company, said the real draw of the event is the small-town appeal of Greenport.
“Out here on the North Fork it’s still countrified,” he said. “This is still a mom-and-pop type atmosphere. People come out here from near and far to visit.”
This week during its 40th annual carnival, the fire department expects to raise $15,000, which will go toward local scholarships and donations to organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
The carnival taking place on Moores Lane near the Greenport Skate Park kicked off on Wednesday and will run through Sunday evening from 6 to 11 p.m.
“We do it to celebrate the Fourth of July in our town,” Harris said.
The carnival serves as a way for both local and visiting families to enjoy the amusements and to taste authentic carnival food, like zeppoles, corn dogs and candy apples.
“I like how we can intermingle with other families,” said Cindy Forster, 38, of Allentown, Pa.
About 8,000 people are expected attend the carnival on Saturday night, where guests can see a fireworks show.
“I like it because it’s really small,” said Pamela Guarrera, 44, who brings her two daughters in from New York City every year for the carnival. “We don’t really have these in New York City.”