Scents of hot dogs filled the air along the banks of the Five Mile River last Saturday as face-painted children played with farm animals and parents milled around the raw bar at the Rowayton River Ramble.

The Saturday event at Pinkney Park, in its 42nd year, is the Rowayton Civic Association's biggest fundraiser. A festival for the kids, it includes a petting zoo, inflatable obstacle courses, music, a dunk tank, water slide and food.

"It's an old-school carnival, back to the basics," RCA President Jill Klein said.

Her 9-year-old daughter Katherine said she looks forward to the event because it only comes once a year and there is "lots of fun stuff to do." Mostly she said she was excited for the goldfish toss.

"All my fish died and I want a new one," she said.

The RCA hosts the event to give residents an excuse to celebrate their town and enjoy the park, while raising money to host free events throughout the year. The funds will help support its nine summer concerts, the spring Easter egg hunt and a comedy show.

"It's a good way to give back to the community," Klein said. "It is really for everybody."

About 300 volunteers ran the event, manning booths like the dunk tank and flipping hamburgers at the grill.

Sabrina Thill, 12, volunteered for a second year as a face-paint artist and wrangled her friend Lexie Ravetto, also 12, to work beside her. The two said they love makeup and art, so they enjoy practicing their creativity at the booth.

"It is always really packed and the kids love it," Lexie said.

John Friedrichsen, 8, volunteered for another year to sit in the dunk tank. His advice to newcomers is to go first. Last year, when he was last to be dunked, he found dirt, sticks and a bandage in the water, he said. But overall, he loves the splash.

"When you're on it, it is such a big surprise to fall in," John said.

Artists and other vendors set up tents in the park selling merchandise. Richard Casey, who has lived in Rowayton for 30 years, collects and sells antique postcards from the town. Many of the cards are 100 years old or older and feature scenes from all parts of life in Rowayton.

"They are a little part of Rowayton history," Casey said. "It doesn't look like this anymore."

He showed off a postcard from 1910 that pictured downtown Rowayton. He said we are just up the street from this spot but there is no dirt road any longer.

Ashley Sheen set up her Rowayton-based business Lucky Enough, which sells pillows with vintage postcards sewn into them. Like Casey, she collects postcards from Rowayton, but she scans them onto transfer paper and makes a pillow around them. If a card has a message written on the back, she sews that into the backside of the pillow. Her favorite piece has a postcard featuring a boat floating on Rowayton's Five Mile River with the message "moonlight ride last night" penned along the bottom.

"I wanted to be very genuine with them," Sheen said. "I wanted to keep them original."