PUNXSUTAWNEY — Wednesday is considered the best day during the annual Old Home Week Carnival by members of the Punxsutawney Fire Department and employees of J&J Amusements, as youngsters and adults from the Arc of Jefferson County Camp Friendship visited for fun and lunch.
Campers from Camp Friendship near Reynoldsville were invited to ride the carnival rides for free, and members of the fire department served campers, parents and counselors a free lunch.
Ranee Sikora, director of the Punxsutawney Camp Friendship, said the campers enjoyed the carnival as much as any day of camp.
This year, campers from Brookville and Brockway who attend Camp Friendship during different weeks were invited to attend the carnival for the first time. Punxsy campers have already been camping — which includes art, music, gym and nature classes, as well as special activities such as horseback riding and Zumba dance exercising — for eight days of the two-week session.
Marcie Plyler, director of the Brookville and Brockway camps, said other activities for campers include a visit by the Gold Wing Riders, who let the campers sit on their motorcycles.
Plyler said during the middle of the week, a camp birthday party included a mini-horse mount, face painting, sand dig, parachute games, balloon animals, balloon games and homemade cupcakes.
They also visited the Farmers Inn in Sigel, where the campers played miniature golf and visited the animals in the petting zoo, Plyler said. A talent show closed out the week.
Plyler said the Brookville/Brockway campers enjoyed the carnival so much, they’ll be back next year.
“J&J’s employees are amazing as to how well they keep track of all of these kids, and allow us to ride just about anything that the kids want to ride,” Sikora saod. “J&J really wants to please us, which is kind of neat, because it is all donated.
“We could never host these camps for the kids without the assistance of all of the counselors who are attentive and patient with the campers,” she said.
Mike Porada, of the Punxsutawney Fire Department, said it is a pleasure to host the youngsters from Camp Friendship every year. Each camper also receives a stuffed animal from the Fat Albert game booth.
The carnival continues tonight behind the Punxy Plaza with the second of three one-price nights.