Firefighters, J&J welcome Arc campers to carnival

PUNXSUTAWNEY — There were some happy campers at the Punxsutawney’s Fire Department’s Old Home Week carnival grounds Wednesday morning, as a group from Camp Friendship ate food and rode rides at the annual free event.

Every summer during Old Home Week, the fire department and J&J Amusements open the midway up and allow the campers — who range from age six up to 44 years of age — to ride the rides and eat for free, said April Barrick, co-director of Camp Friendship’s Punxsy Camp.

Barrick said there are 35 campers at Camp Friendship this year, and thanks to the huge amount of community support, everyone is having a lot of fun.

“Our oldest camper is 44 years old this year, and we’ve had campers that were in their 70s,” Barrick said.

She said anyone who would like to camp with The Arc next year should call Stacy Hanzely at 591-6622 or visit

Hanzely said there are also two family support group meetings each month throughout the year.

Camp Friendship is supported completely by the Run-Walk For Someone Special, held every spring in Sykesville.

“That is why I wanted a picture taken of all of the campers saying thank you today at the carnival, so everyone who contributes through the Run-Walk can see where their money is going to,” Hanzely said, adding that they don’t receive any grants or government funding at all.

Barrick also thanked the Gold Wing Riders motorcycle club for donating funds for T-shirts; J&J for the free carnival rides; and the fire department for providing and serving the food.

Hanzely said Camp Friendship and the visit to the carnival couldn’t take place without the help of all the counselors, from ages 11 and up to college, who volunteer their time throughout the week.

The carnival will continue from 6 to 11 p.m. today at the carnival grounds located behind the west side of the Punxy Plaza.