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Carnival Controversy in Middle Smithfield Township

MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP — A roadside carnival in Monroe County may be forced to shut down because township officials say it doesn’t have a permit to operate.

The owner of the property disagrees and now what was supposed to be a family-fun event is turning into a controversy.

Middle Smithfield Township says the carnival set up along Route 209 near Marshalls Creek doesn’t have a permit to operate, while the owner of the property claims it does have one.

Now there’s a fight over whether or not Ferris wheels and food vendors can stick around for the week or not.

Rides set up just off Route 209 near Marshalls Creek were supposed to draw in families and fun. But just as S&S Amusements opened its gates for business in Middle Smithfield Township, problems popped up.

“Our zoning officer informed the board of supervisors that there was a carnival that had no permit, so he went out an issued a notice of violation,” said Middle Smithfield Township Supervisor Annette Atkinson.

This cease and desist order was given to the carnival owner and property owner John Petrizzo.

“Middle Smithfield Township is unfriendly to business and uses their zoning ordinance for protection and they’re corrupt,” said Petrizzo.

Petrizzo, who also runs a restaurant down the road, says he’s frustrated because he does have a permit and blames bad politics for this problem.

“I have a flea market permit for vendors, and my vendors are there and we added some,” said Petrizzo.

This carnival usually sets up just down the road at Fernwood Resort not even a mile away, but the event had to relocate because of construction.

S&S Amusements also does carnivals in Daleville, Scranton, and during the St. Ubaldo celebration in Jessup. The owner says he would never have knowingly opened up shop without the proper paperwork.

As this permit problem continues to play out in Middle Smithfield Township, this carnival is scheduled to open every night this week.

Meanwhile people who live nearby say this flea market-turned-carnival is too much for this stretch of Route 209 to handle.

“This highway is not wide enough to have people pulling in and out, and it’s a danger, and I travel this every day,” said Beverly Brown.

The township is planning to hold a special meeting Thursday morning at 8 a.m. to authorize its attorney to file an injunction to have the carnival immediately shut down.

Petrizzo says he plans to be there and that S&S Amusements is scheduled to be set up on his property through Sunday.

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