With spring break approaching next week, members of the Trumbull Rotary are excited to offer up something fun for local students to do while school’s out.

The annual Rotary Carnival returns to the grounds of Hillcrest Middle School Wednesday, April 13, through Sunday, April 17, bringing with it a much-needed seasonal reinforcement.

That’s the plan anyway.

“Hopefully, the weather cooperates — we’re all praying it does,” said club President Deborah Cox.

“All the schools in town are off, so the carnival always times up really well with vacation,” she added. “But we’re always challenged by Mother Nature.”

The reasoning behind having the carnival, which will be packed with all-day rides, a food tent and plenty of other entertainment, this early in the calendar is that the Rotary is left without much competition.

And if the stars align next week and the temperatures rise, the carnival will feel just as warm and welcoming as any of its summer rivals.

“It’s a tradition to have it this time of year,” Cox explained. “We tried other times of the year and they didn’t work.

“It’s really a no-brainer for us because there’s not a lot else going on locally,” she added. “Most years we’re competing with ourselves, and that’s a great spot to be in when you’re putting on an event of this size.”

Cox, who formerly worked for the town’s economic development department, joined Trumbull Rotary five years ago and has never looked back.

“I always admired their work from afar,” she said. “I could tell when working with members in the past that they abided by a very certain ethic, and I saw their integrity in the projects they took on. …

“I was thrilled to become a member and was honored this past year when they voted me in as president,” she said.

One piece at a time

As for putting the carnival together, she said it started with selecting a date — a decision that has to be made a year in advance.

Stewart Amusements, located on Shelton Road in town, will be providing the rides again this year — another crucial item that needed to be checked off in the early planning days.

Next was securing food for the tent. Vazzy’s of Bridgeport will be providing the pizzas this year, while hamburgers and hot dogs will also be served.

Rides and food are key ingredients to the event’s success every year, Cox admitted, but the piston that propels the carnival is the camaraderie among Rotary members.

“It’s a lot of work, but we never have a problem getting all hands on deck for this one — everyone joins in,” she said. “We all know what it’s for and why we’re doing it, and that’s what makes it the most enjoyable event of the year for us to put on.”

Community cycle

Every penny raised will go back to the community, Cox said.

She estimates anywhere between $30,000 and $50,000 will be raised from the carnival’s wristband and food sales.

“We give it all away — it all goes into the community,” the Rotary president said. “Whether it’s funding scholarships or setting up grants, this event is used to better serve everybody in town.”

That’s right — although the students are out of school next week, the carnival is for everyone in Trumbull to enjoy and celebrate.

“It’s for families looking for something to do; it’s for friends who have the week off and remember going previous years; it’s for anyone who likes to have a fun time,” Cox said.

With her 80-plus fellow members, the club’s president said the happiness can be infectious.

“We have so much fun together — we’re like one big, happy family,” she said. “And that’s because we love being around everyone and seeing all this enthusiasm around what we’ve worked hard to put on.”

The carnival is open from 6 to 10 p.m. April 13-15; 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 16; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 17.

For more information about the carnival or Trumbull Rotary, visit trumbullrotary.org or call Cox at 203-243-9874 or email her at rotarydeb@aol.com.