The Great Frederick Fair: Annual event brings money, nuisances to neighbors
There is money to be made on fair parking, but those cars can bring other problems
For neighbors of The Great Frederick Fair, each September brings fried food smells and ride-loving children's yells from the carnival midway. And for some, it also brings a boost of income.
Ralph Hurley, who owns the Hurley Hilt'n on West Patrick Street directly across from the fairgrounds, has charged fairgoers to park on his property "for about 40 years." The previous owner had used the property for parking, and suggested that he continue to do it as a source of income, he said.
"[It] paid for my younger children, put clothes on my kids back," he said, adding that he looks forward to the fair every year. "It gives us something to do. It's not an easy task; we work our butt off over here."
Hurley has between 30 and 40 spaces for cars, and charges $4 per car, as opposed to the $5 for official fair parking. He said business has been down lately, with fewer people coming to the fair.
"The turnout is not what it used to be," Hurley said. "Everybody's hurting. I think they shouldn't have raised prices at the fair."
Three employees help direct the traffic at his lot. He declined to say how much he brought in from the parking annually, but said that it was a lot less than it used to be. "I made more money 10 years ago," he said.
Not all of the fairgrounds' neighbors enjoy the increased traffic. Michael Southers, who lives adjacent to the fairgrounds said he sees an enormous increase in the amount of people parking on his street. The deed to his house provides two on-street parking spaces, but during the fair week, they are harder to come by.
"The parking is the biggest concern for everyone who lives on that street," he said. "Normally it's a pretty quiet street. We understood that the fair was going to take place yearly when we moved here ... I understand also people don't want to pay for parking, but everybody doesn't have their perspective."
Southers said fairgoers who park on his street tend to leave behind garbage, cluttering the street.
"My wife will go out and pick up all the trash," he said. "We walk a lot up and down the street there's trash. We saw trash strewn along the sides of the building that's clearly there from the fair."
Capt. Kevin Grubb of the Frederick Police Department said in an e-mail that he hadn't received officials complaints from those living on streets surrounding the fairgrounds regarding trash or other issues.
"The fair board and those parking cars on their lots generally do a great job keeping the surrounding area clean," he said. "No complaints [from neighbors]."