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History of the Shortsville Firemen's Carnival & Parade

2020 - 81st Year

Carnival & Firemen's Parade History


The Shortsville Firemen's Carnival is the OLDEST & LARGEST on going carnival in Ontario County. The first carnival and parade was in the month of July in 1939. It was sponsored by the members of the Citizens Hose Company - also known as the Shortsville Fire Department. It is still sponsored by the Citizens Hose Company today.


From 1939 to the 1980's, the carnival and parade were the second Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the month of July. In the 1990’s The firemen stalled on signing the next year’s carnival contract. This resulted was loosing the popular July dates. The firemen were forced to take the only week the carnival company had open which was  school graduation weekend in June. After a numbers of years having the carnival on graduation weekend the firemen were able to move the date around a little. Not every year the carnival falls on graduation now but occasionally it does. This continues today.  


For many of the earlier years the rides that came to the carnival grounds were supplied by Malloy Amusement Rides. Most of Malloy's rides were home-made. As years went by and bigger and better amusement rides were being used by carnival companies, the Shortsville firemen decided to contract with a different company Sofo Amusements from Auburn. Sofo's, for many years, didn't have a place to go on graduation weekend so the 3 brothers would collectively bring all of their rides and equipment to Shortsville. Sofo was used for many years until 2 of the brothers went out of business. After Sofo's, the Shortsville firemen used Wheelock Amusements for short period of time. Today the firemen use Ontario Amusements from Oswego New York. 


Each year many people enjoy the Firemen's Parade and Carnival. It continues to get bigger. The parade attracts thousands each year. There are bands, fire departments, law enforcement, EMS providers, dignitaries, clowns, color guards, scouts, politicians and much more in the parade.


Come and enjoy the fun! There area number of adult and children rides, games of chance and plenty of great food and drink! Come and have a beer or the best fireman's fried dough you will ever taste. There is a "Pay One Price" ride special on Saturday Afternoon with kid drawings after the ride special.


Also enjoy the large fireworks display on Saturday night. The kids would love it! 1,000's come out to see them. They start at 10:30pm. Stop and pick up some fried dough before they start.


Help support the local churches and other local organizations, under the big tent, with the best food items and desserts. From corn on the cob, strawberry shortcake, salt potatoes, taco salad, sausage and more.


On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights there are live local bands playing your favorite songs until midnight. There’s no cover charge. It is free. Parking is free. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy each night of great music (see "The Carnival" page for more information). 


Don't miss the giant parade on Friday night! One of the largest popular parades around. The parade is over an hour long with bands, drum corps, fire departments, auxiliaries, fire trucks, ambulance corps, ambulances, law enforcement, VFW’s, American Legions, clowns, color-guards, scouts, dignitaries,  politicians, old antique cars, floats, tractors and much, much more! The parade starts at 7pm sharp! (see "the Parade"page for more information)


The Parade starts at West Main Street at Route #21 and heads east on West Main Street to Water Street and ends at Budd Park, on Water Street, where the carnival is held.  


COME ON OUT and have some fun and a good time and help support us.


                                           CITIZENS HOSE COMPANY -

                                     SHORTSVILLE FIRE DEPARTMENT. 

                                                 (FIRE - RESCUE - EMS)

                                      We would love to see you there!

Things of the Past

In the Early Years

In 1939, the first Shortsville Firemen's Parade and Carnival took place. It was held in the middle of July. 


The parade consist of local Fire Departments, Ambulance companies, American legions, dignitaries, law enforcement, boy scouts, girl scouts, local churches, local organizations, bands and floats!


The carnival was very small with only a few small kid rides and game booths such as the cake wheel, gambling and other fun games of the time. It would remind you of today's festival.


The food selection was a lot smaller too. Some of the food and goodies that was offered at the carnival was chicken BBQ, steamed clams, french fries, hamburgers, hots and fried dough, sugar waffles, popcorn, candy apples, cotton candy, and ice cream. It not like the selection you see today.


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A Piece of Carnival History

Under the pavilion at the beer stand, you will  still see a part of the carnival's history. The red "bar table-stands", that we still use today, are the original bar stands that were built and used for the first carnival in 1939. The only difference is the color. The original bar stands were painted the color green. 


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Remembering the Kiddie Parades

In 1939, when the parade and carnival started, the firemen also had a kiddie parade. The parade was held on Thursday night. 


It would start at the bank on West Main Street at Park Place and headed east onto Water Street to the carnival grounds. 


Children would dress in costumes, rode bikes or walked their dog in the parade. At the carnival, the ones in costumes were judged and the best three would win a prize. 


In the 1990's the kiddie parade was re-routed. It started in the same place but went west on West Main Street and turned onto Brownald and then down into the Budd Park.


The kiddie parade ended in the late 1990's due to the lack of interest.