Above: Three girls whirl around on one of the rides on the Dogie Days midway. The carnival opened Wednesday and will run through Saturday. (Steve Ramos/Moore County Journal)

By Steve Ramos

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Few things bring a community together like a carnival. The food, the rides, the chance to impress a girlfriend by knocking over lead-filled milk bottles and winning a stuffed lion are just some of the reasons a community puts on a collective smile when the carnival comes to town.

And this week, Dumas is grinning big as the 69th Annual Dogie Days celebration kicked off Wednesday with the opening of the midway at McDade Park. The fun continues through Saturday, and at 9 p.m. that night the Dumas Lions Club Sweetheart will draw the winning ticket for a 2015 Chevy Silverado pickup truck.

The barbecue begins Thursday at 11 a.m. and runs until 1:30 p.m. More than 8,000 pounds of meat went into the pit Wednesday afternoon, and about 6,000 people are expected to turn out for the feast.

On Saturday, a few thousand people will line Dumas Avenue to watch the parade that begins at 11 a.m. Even though Dogie Days winds down on Saturday, Moore County folks will still be riding high with the carnival spirit.

“I just moved to Dumas last year, but I love this,” Erika Gomez said. “My two little boys have been talking about this for a week, and they couldn’t wait for the rides to open today. It might not be as big as Six Flags, but then at Six Flags you’re not surrounded by your neighbors. I moved here from Dallas, and I just think this is fabulous.”

Be sure to scroll down and check out the gallery of pics on the right.